With many businesses preparing to go back to physical offices and workspaces, health and safety will, once again, need to be looked at and retweaked to ensure employee protection and safety – whether online or in person. So, what will health and safety look like now and what can we expect?
Infection and prevention
Obviously, the focus is still on COVID-19 and ensuring the health and safety of your staff as well as your customers. Although infection prevention dates back centuries, it seems even more relevant this year. The best sources for advice are bodies like The World Health Organisation (WHO) and local government guidelines, which include asking staff to wear masks, to social distance and to undergo routine testing. During the current circumstances, there is no way around such measures, but what else can we expect?
Health and safety and mental health
The pandemic and lockdown have seen a rise in mental health issues amongst children, teenagers and adults alike. So going forward, health and safety will now need to look at supporting employees’ mental health too, such as by having safe spaces to talk freely and unashamed; checking up on employees regularly, whether they are in the office or still working from home, to see how they are doing; and providing staff with mental health and wellbeing training so that they can support those in need.
First aid and health and safety training
Although the pandemic has caused a delay in employee health and safety training, there are many online courses that still provide training, often allowing a qualification to be gained in a shorter time and without the added pressure of travel and days off work. Although it is online, it’s still no less valuable or necessary, so focus should still be put on training employees so that they can deal with first aid and other health and safety aspects.
General accidents and preventions
Whether working from home or working in the office, accidents must still be avoided, and prevention methods put in place to avoid falls, slips, spills, fires, as well as computer safety in connection with the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 (iHasco, 2020). A good way to ensure your workers are safe at all times is to use a personal safety app such as Zecure, which can alert trusted contacts automatically in the event of an emergency.
No matter whether businesses are going back to the office or are staying online, there is no doubting that the previous year and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed health and safety practices forever. So, get out there and make health and safety a priority to ensure that your employees are safe and able to do the very best work they can.
iHasco. 2020. Health and Safety in 2020 and what to expect in 2021. Available at: https://www.ihasco.co.uk/blog/entry/3048/health-safety-in-2020-to-2021 [Accessed 27 April 2021].