2020 shall be a year to remain in the memory for a long time. The year started with so much news coverage over Brexit and endless voting in the Houses of Parliament, but who could have predicted the world would soon be overcome by the spread of a corona-virus that would wreak havoc across the globe, affecting so many peoples’ lives and the huge social and economic disruption it will bring?
The year has brought with it many twists and turns, and whilst for a long period many of us found ourselves at home more and enjoyed re-engaging with our local communities, for those left managing businesses it continues to be an incredibly challenging time. Within any typical business a manager will likely ‘wear many hats’, but as we’ve observed these last few months many good h&s professionals have been let go from their long-term employer, at a time when they are needed most to help their employer adapt to the ‘new covid-secure workplace’.
Having worked at a variety of organisations we all strive for a better work/life balance. This year we’ve all become more accustomed to the use of technology, partaking in regular ‘Zoom’ and ‘Teams’ meetings with our colleagues and project reviews which has certainly led to more productivity and less commuting.
Since the pandemic was announced all those months ago, many safety consultants like me have grappled with the guidance and rules as they have evolved. Our specialisms working primarily in the construction industry in preparing and reviewing risk assessments have come to good use, as has our ability to review contractors’ on-site performance for health & safety management under the CDM Regulations.
We always carry out inspections and audits on our CDM projects, as either Principal Designer or CDM-Advisor to others. We have been pleased to see and often share the good practice that these contractors have been putting into action. Ideas such as;
- A5-sized paper covid-handouts with key facts and guidance;
- Remote hand-wash and sanitiser stations supplementing the main welfare facilities;
- Improved site access routes, one-way systems, staggered break times, etc, and;
- generally contractors now providing and maintaining cleaner working environments on building sites.
I really hope this pandemic shall bring out the best in all of us, to be more aware of our own personal hygiene, and just maybe that general workplace ill-health, absence from work and mental health shall all be given the full focus they require.
As we see many businesses get their staff back to the office, whilst there shall still be an element of flexible working, managers shall need to be quick to adapt to these modern ways of working and controlling their staff. Additional health & safety requirements such as home-working risk assessments, checks on electrical equipment, plus of course keeping in touch to manage employee stress and mental health awareness.
Heres to 2021 and a better year ahead for all.
Emerald Health & Safety Services Ltd