SafeWork NSW Awards focus on challenges of COVID-19
As businesses around Australia are facing challenges with the financial impact of COVID-19, safety regulators are encouraging employers to maintain their focus on their safety systems. In NSW, as has been the case for the last 17 years, the SafeWork NSW Awards are being conducted to acknowledge NSW businesses that demonstrate an outstanding approach to work health and safety.
And given the current environment, this year’s Awards will, according to the Minister’s press release, focus on businesses that have implemented innovative and effective measures to protect their employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The importance of businesses implementing safety processes to deal with COVID-19 has become even clearer with outbreaks occurring repeatedly at workplaces. This is not surprising given the close proximity that workers will often be to each other during the working day. But it highlights the substantial care that employers must exercise to protect their workers.
It also highlights the practical problems businesses face with trying to control highly infectious viruses. Even the most stringent processes and comprehensive personal protective equipment may not prove sufficient, as can be seen by the large numbers of health workers that have been exposed to COVID-19.
So whether or not your business will be nominated for a safety award this year, it is important that you are constantly reviewing the adequacy of your COVID-19 safety plan. Reinforcing the processes with workers to ensure vigilance is maintained is critical. But it is also challenging as complacency can set in as your workers protect themselves against an invisible risk.
Key steps you can consider taking include:
- doing a spot audit on the adherence of workers with your current processes;
- reinforcing through toolbox talks and briefings the importance of the processes;
- continuing regular checks to ensure compliance; and
- considering additional controls you can implement.
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