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Health & Safety in a post-COVID world

Health and safety is very front of mind for all businesses following COVID. Many of us might be fairly well across what we need to do differently from a pandemic perspective these days, but have we lost sight of some of the fundamental health and safety risk management measures?

Risk management for both remote working and return to the office

Mike McShaneHealth and safety is very front of mind for all businesses following COVID. Many of us might be fairly well across what we need to do differently from a pandemic perspective these days, but have we lost sight of some of the fundamental health and safety risk management measures?

McLardy McShane Director and Co-Founder Mike McShane is concerned that some clients have become a bit distracted.  

“The incidents we’ve been seeing more of this year have too often been preventable. A lot of it stems from going in and out of lockdown mode and having our brainspace taken up by our new COVID obligations. We’re forgetting some of the really basic risk management fundamentals that we had previously taken for granted. 

“Things like slips and falls, injury due to poor technique lifting heavy items, improper use of machinery or tools… none of it is complex to understand, we’ve just drifted away from the good habits we’ve previously developed at work to avoid these types of incidents. Now is a good time to revisit our risk management programmes and make sure we do our due diligence in identifying hazards, assessing our risks, working to mitigate and manage those risks, and review regularly.” 

Fighting COVID fatigue

Mike highlights the feeling that many of us are sharing these days – fighting COVID is a marathon, not a sprint. And we are exhausted (especially those of us in Melbourne after Lockdown 4.0). 

“But remember, making sure your workplace is safe for your people as they return to work is your obligation. And so is making sure your people have a safe work environment even if they’re working remotely. I can’t think of many businesses that wouldn’t say that their people are their most valuable asset, so we should be working to protect them as such. 

“Some people will be managing their mental health as they make the transition back into the office setting, so we should be making sure we’re providing a safe environment. Safe Work Australia has a variety of resources for businesses to help you remain COVID safe. For some, a graduated return to work can be helpful. If people are working remotely, work with them to make sure their home office is set up ergonomically and make sure to do more frequent wellbeing check-ins when you aren’t able to physically get an idea of how someone appears to be going when you see them in person.” 

A quick health and safety checklist

There’s a quick checklist that Mike’s prepared to help clients review their risks at a high level. 

  • Review your old health and safety risk management system. Don’t have one? The government has a reasonable guide on how to get started here. 
  • Reflect carefully on anything that’s changed over the past 12-18 months. Do you have machines that haven’t been started up or maintained properly? Does your team need a training refresher? Have you had new starters that haven’t been properly inducted into your workplace? 
  • Check your cyber risk. This one gets its own category on the checklist because it’s so important. Cyber incidents have never been more prevalent than they are now, especially for SME. Did you make any changes to allow people to work remotely? Have you made sure your team is up to date on the latest types of scams, phishing, etc.? Whilst cyber isn’t often directly related to health and safety, if things go wrong it can still have a major impact on both in your business. 
  • Put regular health and safety discussions back on your agenda. COVID has taken up a lot of airtime, make sure you give due consideration to non-COVID risks again, as well. 
  • Speak to your insurance broker. As your broker, firstly we care about you and your business and, where possible, we want to help you avoid risks that could impact your people or your business. Secondly, our expertise is centred around emerging risks, claims trends and risk management and we are well placed to offer you advice regarding your whole risk management programme (of which your insurance solution is just one component). 

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Health & Safety

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