There is no doubt we are living through an unprecedented time in our lives, one that none of us could of prepare for, or expected. Understandably every organisation has had to scramble to come up with procedures to cope with the COVID19 Pandemic. We have seen workers directed to work from home, frontline workers forced to think of handwashing, distancing and safety measures never before considered.
This all fits within the WHS framework of eliminating risk, isolating people from hazards and administrative controls that effectively change the way we work. We all know the last line of defence is our PPE and even that has had to be introduced where needed.
There is little argument to the fact that training, and education takes all of these factors into account and should be still considered throughout this Pandemic. To this extent, we have taken our training programs that were largely face to face and now are delivering them via video conferencing technology. This is still an effective way to ensure workers are kept up to date on their training and education while also remaining safe from COVID19.
We too have had to innovate, and this will now form part of our training packages into the future where we can now reach any location that has a viable internet connection and computer with video capacity. Indeed, many organisations will no doubt change the way they do business because of this new world we have been thrust into.
The important element we must not lose sight of is our WHS obligations beyond COVID19, if you still have workers that are operational then all the other relevant WHS precautions must be also implemented. Let’s not forget that despite the risk that contracting COVID19 presents to us all, there are still many more risks that we face while at work. Driving for instance still is the number 1 cause of fatalities in the workplace and even though the road toll is down due to less people being on the road, every day there are vehicle crashes that cause harm, even during this pandemic.
If your team has the capacity to think about what your workforce will look like once the restrictions are eased, then don’t forget to include driver behaviour and awareness in your WHS list of priorities.
Many people will have reduced driving competency as a result of a long period of isolation and indeed we are expecting driving standards to drop from now until the foreseeable future. Most drivers are distracted by the constant fear of the virus and an uncertain future, fear in itself is a distraction as it can trigger anxiety and stress, all factors that can lead to a legitimate life-threatening mistake while driving.
Let’s not lose sight of the one fact that is important to each and every one of us, life will never be the same again, but will get through this and we need to prepare for the next chapter beyond COVID19.
MD, STC Education.