There’s no doubt that a lot has changed in the world around us over the past 12 months. COVID 19 has certainly pushed businesses, leaders, workplaces, and teams, to places they hadn’t perhaps wanted to or expected to go.
Yet, some of these changes have been for the better.
One positive change in business is that work health and safety (WHS; or OHS, occupational health and safety) has come into the limelight in 2020. As the need for protecting the health and safety of the entire community became of paramount importance, businesses took action.
We saw organisations of all kinds step up and follow the regulatory and governmental guidance, playing their role in safeguarding everyone’s health. In some cases, this was the first time they had actively focused on health and safety management in their business.
Work Health and Safety: Holding a more prominent position in business
WHS hasn’t always held a prominent position in many workplaces.
Certainly for high-risk industries – like construction, mining, or manufacturing – health and safety is embedded into the way work is done, through and through. Yet for others, safety management can take a secondary position in the running of the business.
Often, business leaders see safety management as a lower priority when compared to other activities – such as sales, marketing or accounts management.
Yet, as businesses turned their attention to WHS in response to the global pandemic threat, we saw some things start to change.
Businesses started to realise the value of health and safety practices – both to their business health and the health of their workers. They started to see health and safety as a necessary part of their operations – so that they could keep running, and meet their duties as an employer.
In many cases, business went above and beyond. Businesses sought to not only meet requirements to help contain COVID-19 but also looked to address other risks and hazards in their workplaces.
This is important, and encouraging to see.
It seems COVID-19 may have actually set many businesses on a path to do what they are required by law to do in the first place. That is, take all reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their workers, managing and mitigating risks and hazards to worker health, including COVID-19.
Key Benefits of WHS Software
Not only does WHS software allow businesses to keep their safety practices on track and ticking along, but it can assist with safety management in the wake of several changes we’ve seen in the workplace as a consequence of COVID-19.
More workers are working from home
With COVID-19 came the dispersion of many workers away from the traditional workplace. Managing health and safety in the physical workplace is markedly easier than when your workers are working from home.
WHS software allows you to provide your remote team an online avenue through which they can report incidents/hazards, and check in with the latest advice and guidance. Learn more about how software can assist with managing your remote workforce.
Keeping track of worker and/or visitor whereabouts in your physical workplaces
Checking in and out of the workplace has become standard. Perhaps you had sign-in and out system before, perhaps you didn’t. But now, it is imperative that workplaces know who is on site and when.
Most WHS Software provides you with site attendance tracking capabilities. This is an in-built module that allows you to keep important records and registers of the people who attend your sites – something that is vital when it comes to managing COVID-19.
The need for constant communication and readiness for swift action
As you are no doubt aware, rules and regulations around COVID-19 that are imposed by the government or regulators change often and fast. So it’s important that you have the means to communicate changes to workers quickly, no matter where they are located or what time it is.
WHS software allows you to update documents, policies, and processes quickly. Plus you can disseminate these changes with the click of a button. One thing that is for sure is that OHS practices – once considered static or set and forget – are now hugely dynamic, needing to change as often as the guidance does. Do you have a system in place that allows you to easily keep on top of this?
Businesses can take charge with WHS Software
In 2020, we saw that COVID-19 often spread in workplaces. This is not surprising given these are places where many people congregate and remain in close proximity for extended periods of time.
But is it for this very reason that workplaces must take charge of this very real risk to health.
To take charge – consider implementing OHS software to help you to maintain thorough records and documents to support your OHS activities.
Record keeping is of paramount importance, and this can be especially difficult with constant changes to where people work, with whom, and how. Keeping evidence of your WHS practices in one location, on the cloud, allows your team – wherever they are – to check in and play their part.
The flow-on effects will be positive.
WHS Management Software will make WHS easier and more effortless to manage. And we know that a business that effectively manages WHS also sees reduced accidents, happier staff, increased productivity, and healthier bottom line.
WHS Software: Keeping health and safety on track
Now that we’ve seen Australian businesses actively and effectively manage the COVID-19 hazard in the workplace, it’s time to maintain the momentum.
Effective work health and safety practices only really work using a continuous improvement mindset. That is, businesses must continually monitor and address risks to safety and health, they must know the hazards that are present in their workplace, and appropriately mitigate those risks to worker health.
So, whilst kick-starting safety practices during the COVID-19 pandemic was a fantastic step forward, it is the maintenance of these practices that is important.
And it’s WHS software like Safety Champion Software that really support businesses to sustain their work health and safety practices.
Fundamentally, everyone should be safe from harm at work. COVID or no COVID. So, consider taking up a smart tech tool to help you get there this year.
Article prepared for Australian Software Guide by Safety Champion Software