HEALTH AND SAFETY - Moving back to normality

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

As I write this in the tail end of week one at level 3, I am hopeful that life will be heading back to normal as you read it. Normal life, or as normal as it may be, will bring a lot of changes for many people. Some of us will move back to the office and continue the work we have been doing at home. Some of us will be organising meetings that may or may not require social distancing. Some of us will be looking for work and trying to rebuild our lives. One certainty is that people will be out and about. There will be more traffic on the road, more people in shops, and more people in our workplaces. Some of these will be our workmates, some might be new to the team, others may be subcontractors, customers, or visitors. Just as there is a rise in incidents (some serious) after the Christmas break, there is likely to be a rise in incidents following the past few months of the restrictions due to Covid-19. As we saw in the transition to level 3, there are those who were breaking out and intent on their own purposes, rather than following the rules.

Starting with a toolbox or staff meeting can be a good way to remind everyone of the safe practices of the workplace. Include the normal items of safe practice, wearing PPE, ensuring guards are fitted and used, and so on. Depending on your workplace, the presence of other people needs to be emphasised. The roads have been fairly clear; this will return to the normal crush of traffic, drivers focused on their own journeys and preoccupied with rebuilding their work lives. Forklift operators, particularly those in workplaces where the public has access, will need to be particularly diligent about ensuring the area around them is clear. Consider the actions that you can take to protect your workers and others in their workplaces. These can include restricting access to certain areas, induction and sign in, and escorting people through the workplace. Plan for the safety of your workers and for others.