Right after the declaration of Covid-19, the world of work was significantly affected. The workplace closures as a result of lockdown ultimately resulted in the loss of labour income and an even higher rate of unemployment.
According to the International Labour Organisation, the estimated loss of working hours was 17.3 per cent in the 2020’s second quarter. Despite, the gradual lift of quarantine measures, many people are losing their jobs and are getting minimum wages and sometimes not even that! This disruption of labour supply was continued in 2020 and is likely to persist in 2021 as well.
Hence, health and safety at the workplace should constitute a crucial policy in reviving the labour market.
Why did employers ignore health and safety training in 2020?
- It is practically difficult to gather all workers in one room, keeping the SOPs in mind
- Conducting h&s training and discussions seem like a waste of money
But, the poorly maintained health and safety management system cost businesses both financially, and legally.
As per the Health and Safety Executive, in the UK (2017/18), the annual cost of workplace injuries reached £15 billion.
Direct cost as a result of health and safety injuries are:
- Work equipment damage
- Insurance claims
- Rising premiums
Indirect costs as a result of health and safety injuries are:
- Higher absenteeism
- Decreased employees’ morale
- Minimal workers’ turnover
This direct and indirect cost has further increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The businesses are facing real challenges in maintaining the health and safety of workers.
Let’s shed some light on these challenges and try to identify the appropriate workplace measures that employers can adopt to protect their business and sustain productivity levels.
COVID-19 Workplace Challenges and Tips
1. Establishing a crisis team
The biggest challenge in the current pandemic is the survival of businesses. It is essential for business owners to put efforts into Lessing the negative impact while preparing the company for future developments.
For centralising the efforts, companies should establish the core crisis team for coordinating the efforts and defined objectives.
2. Safety of workers!
Photo Credit: Pexels
Ensuring the safety and health of employees in this COVID situation is the second biggest challenge. Maintaining the physical distances among employees, arranging enhanced sanitisation and cleaning methods, employees’ awareness about the disease and the management of employees who show coronavirus symptoms are the challenges that companies are facing for the first time.
Employees may face different health risks depending upon their type of work. Employers on the other hand, also face challenges in supporting district population of workers and hence, they need to show fair treatment across all workforce.
For those workers, who are needed to report physically at work, should be monitored carefully.
For example, regular fever test for these employees and ensuring social distancing enhanced hygiene and proving them protective clothing and equipment.
One important way to cope with this challenge is proving employees with the right h&s training. Online health and safety training courses can be helpful and famous these days. These are designed to highlight the information necessary for employees as per their work duties and as per HSE guidelines.
3. Contingency plans for key roles
There could arise the possibility of employees with extremely important job responsibilities fall ill, or unable to carry out work duties because of a number of factors.
In this case, organisations need to identify such roles, their key skills which are needed to fulfil these positions and then should establish who can replace these individuals if they get sick. Employers also need to identify where they can free up capacity and redeploy skills where needed.
4. Go for Split team arrangement
Photo Credit: Pexels
To control the spread of the virus among employees is essential to ensure business continuity. The best way to cope up with this challenge is to split teams.
For example, if one member of the team gets infected by the virus, the rest will surely need to put into quarantine. This may lead to a no-working condition of the whole team if their job duties cannot be done via remote working. To avoid such situation, physical team segregation can be helpful.
For example, allow employees to come to the office in different shifts of days. This could be applied for staff members working in warehouse or construction firms. Another approach is to allow employees to do remote working, whose job duties does not need a physical presence in the office.
5. Communicate effectively
Right and effective communication is the ultimate paramount when navigating through this covid19 crisis. It is important that business owners update their staff members regarding and all new changes that take place.
The right information is like a wealth at this time of corona outbreak. It is crucial that management remains transparent about the company’s decision that is being taken and employees’ expectations through this tiring time.
Management also needs to communicate their workers about the measures being advised by national health authorities such as social distancing, and increased hygiene.
I understand that can be difficult for employers to keep their employees aware of each change and advice set out by health authorities. Online health & safety courses can help employers in this regard.
These are designed as per the latest guidelines and can create the right awareness of the health and safety principles.
About The Author:
Harry Leo is an accomplished speaker, explorer, and author. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a dual degree in Creative Writing and History. He is an author and content marketing speaker focused on helping B2B companies not just to sell their products but engage the audience through delivering content that really solves problems! Most days, you can find him writing a variety of articles and blogs on health and safety topics. Harry is always willing to take a big and wild vision to make it a reality in a non-overwhelming and organised way! He spends his spare time with friends & family and exploring the world.