The importance of health and safety now, more than ever

Published: 18th November 2020

Every industry has had to adapt and pivot in order to be able to survive during the current pandemic. Many businesses were closed for months, others had and still have people working from home, lots of employees are furloughed and every organisation is trying to survive and get through this period as best they can.

For every industry and organisation, the Coronavirus pandemic has brought health and safety to the forefront and reinforced its importance. Many organisations previously may not have taken health and safety seriously enough, and this period is the perfect learning experience for them to put health and safety first now and in the future.

Change needs to happen quickly

In the UK, the lockdown in March was announced with immediate effect and since then businesses have had to change and acclimatise many times in order to keep up with constantly updating and altering rules, regulations and advice. What’s allowed this week may have changed by next week and may have all changed again by next month. It can be difficult and frustrating, but it’s absolutely necessary.

This is why it’s so crucial to stay bang up to date with all of the latest government news and industry advice to ensure businesses stay compliant and safe for clients, employees and customers. Putting people at risk is simply not an option and if organisations don’t keep up-to-date with restrictions and rules, they may face fines and other larger issues.

Training is vital

Providing employees with health and safety training was once perhaps something organisations felt obliged to do, rather than really wanting to. Now, proper and thorough training is vitally important for every single organisation.

Ensuring employees know what procedures they need to follow, what’s being done to protect them and how they can stay as safe as possible will help to develop a positive health and safety culture. Constantly reinforcing this will make employees competent and ensure their safe actions become second nature. This will help to avoid ill health and any accidents as much as possible.

Health and safety is for everyone

Previously, organisations and employees might have thought health and safety was something that only certain departments needed to ever think about. Now, health and safety is something that needs to be at the forefront of every single employees mind – from brand new hires, right up to board members and CEOs.

Ensuring that every single employee is fully trained and kept informed of any new changes or updates to current procedures is a must. Building this into the company culture is best practice for all.

Listen to employees

The pandemic has undoubtedly brought with it a huge amount of anxiety and uncertainty for many. Organisations will have employees who are worried about catching Coronavirus due to having underlying health conditions, or passing it onto other people in their households who are vulnerable.

Organisations should be prepared to listen to individual employees who may have specific concerns and try to be as flexible as possible to help allay those fears. Taking extra steps to protect those who are vulnerable will show care and compassion for employees and help to create a positive and caring workplace culture.

Through this trying and testing time, organisations simply have no choice but to put health and safety at the head of their priority list. Keeping people safe is a must and those who take extra steps to go above and beyond and ensure health and safety remains a priority after the pandemic is (finally) over will be those who thrive.