It’s been well over a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the world of work and the way we do our jobs.
Still, health and safety is an important consideration for all businesses, and with World Day for Safety and Health at Work on the horizon (28th April), what better time to look to the future of safety in the workplace?
So, as we get on track towards ‘the new normal’, what are the key ways to achieve workplace safety in 2021 and beyond?
1. Provide adequate PPE
It goes without saying that for those in industrial roles, personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential. This should be reviewed regularly and new equipment provided when required. Thanks to the pandemic, though, there’s also now an additional need for most workplaces to think about PPE; face coverings, shields and antibacterial hand wash are all now a part of everyday life and should be provided to staff who need them.
2. Offer open communication and training
Now, more than ever, communication is critical for a safe workplace. Especially when workforces are often scattered across different locations - sometimes even around the world - it’s important to ensure your health and safety protocols are clearly defined and shared with the teams and updated on a regular basis.
3. Focus on mental health
Though physical health is important, mental health is becoming more and more essential for employers to pay attention to.50% of American workers suffered mental health issues during the pandemic, suggesting a need for further action in society as a whole. Employers can take the lead by providing resources and support for those who need them.
4. Consider remote working conditions
Remote working has been rising in popularity thanks to the connected world, but the pandemic accelerated home working for many employees. It looks as though this may shape the future of work, certainly as a complement to site-based attendance, if not a replacement. For those who have staff working remotely, it’s important to provide information on how to ensure their home setups are safe and secure. You can perhaps also look to provide a stipend or allowance for new equipment, such as comfortable chairs or desks to allow your staff to do their jobs safely.
For some staff, remote working can be lonely, so remember to check in and support their mental health.
5. Make it a collective responsibility
An old preconception is that health and safety at work is the role of a dedicated person or group, but that outdated notion should be challenged in the modern workplace - it’s a collective responsibility to make work a safe place to be.
With lots of start-ups and progressive companies now preferring flat structures and non-hierarchical setups, perhaps it’s the time to reaffirm that message that health and safety isn’t just anyone’s job; it’s everyone’s job.
Act now to support your workforce
Though your health and safety protocols may be working well, there’s always room for improvement. A healthy and happy working environment is important in maintaining staff morale, so think about ways you can improve.
Whether it’s sweeping changes or minor tweaks and initiatives, act now to ensure your business is at the forefront of occupational health and safety.