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  • Writer's pictureRoeleen Henning

COVID-19 – A risk adjusted approach which seeks a behavioural change

We are in level 3 and so far so good. It’s refreshing to see more businesses have resumed work and people are getting used to the COVID-19 protocols.

I have come to the conclusion that COVID-19 is a behavioural change challenge, more than anything else. We as South Africans have a tendency to battle with change and if we don’t see the benefit nor understand the reasons why, then the process can become tedious and frustrating.

Why have Government moved away from the Risk Adjusted approach – a risk assessment is always transparent, collaborates with affected parties and seeks to eliminate or control the risk. Our South African Government have disappointed the people and makes the behavioural change even more challenging.

The Gauteng High Court ruled that the regulations passed during levels 4 and 3 are unconstitutional and invalid. We will have to wait 14 working days before we will see the effect of this decision. I am not a legal expert but do agree with the ruling but also see the danger in what this may hold for our future. I will not elaborate but just sit and think what is next:

  1. New regulations – we need to get used to again?

  2. An appeal & the case is overturned?

  3. What about the cases waiting for court dates?

  4. Is there a possibility to move back to level 5? Please no!

  5. Will the NCC play a time game?

It is all just confusing will leave this discussion for the wise legal experts for now!

As professionals in the field of health and safety, we always start with a risk assessment which will indicate the required controls and then work on the implementation of these controls using change management methods, starting with the leaders in a business as people follow the leaders. Since our leaders have disappointed the people of South Africa, I urge you to think about the simple protocols initially implemented, these are truly risk based:

  1. Masks – isolate your own fluids to protect those around you. I know the mask is warm and uncomfortable and controversial views around the CO2 levels makes it even harder to defend the wearing of it but it has been proven to work so please wear them, clean them and get used to them.

  2. Sanitising – wash hands and sanitise as often as possible. I know the hand sanitisers are cold and it feels as if you are sanitised for eternity when you just want to buy bread and maybe something to wear. But please keep your hands clean for your own health and to ensure you are not spreading the virus placing others including your loved once at risk.

  3. Medical screening – adhere to screening methods specifically at work. I understand that your medical status is confidential and nobody’s business so why would the man at the bank announce to the world your temperature is xx.x. I also understand your employer is now asking questions about your medical status and in some cases overstepping the confidentiality boundaries. Why not discuss the medical condition with a medical practitioner and ask for a written fitness certificate indicating you are vulnerable without mentioning the reason why, be proactive and help your employer. It is possible to disclose COVID-19 vulnerability without actually providing confidential medical information and understand screening is for your own protection.

I truly pray and believe that there is a future for our beautiful country and its diverse and unique people. I also believe it is time for the biggest change we have ever seen and the quicker we adapt to change the better.

COVID-19 can be a tutor for change or a catapult for war!

Please let us help your business with a real risk assessment and implementing the changes required. Visit our store for the latest copy of the COVID-19 Management Plans which is based on a risk adjusted approach and a free copy of the COVID-19 Policy statement.

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