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  • Roeleen Henning

Going back to work post COVID-19 lockdown

I am not going to explain the COVID-19 or even try to give you an overview of what happened. I believe we all understand the impact this pandemic has on our society, work environment and families. My focus is rather to assist with preparation for the future and how our businesses need to plan around the “NEW NORMAL” and “RETURNING TO WORK” environments.

I hope the blog will inspire your thinking process and innovation abilities to plan around your own work environment and new normal – which we still do not understand.

Where to start:

Develop a plan

At this stage you might not know when this will happen but if you have a plan it can be easily implemented, and your return might not be a mountain to climb but a hill to conquer.

How do I plan for the return to work?

  1. Start your plan with a risk-based assessment.

  2. The risk assessment will determine which of the positions in your workplace are high, medium, or low risks to COVID-19 infection.

  3. Determine using the hierarchy of controls how the high, medium, or low risks will be managed. Some for example of what you need to think about listed below:

  • Determine which jobs are critical to your business processes and who need to be on site.

  • A phased-in-approach can be more beneficial; however, this might not be possible.

  • Disinfect the workplace before work commence and then on a regular scheduled basis

  • Determine how medical surveillance and monitoring will be conducted

  • Determine what PPE, sanitizers and other protective gear would be required

  • Review Policies, Standard Operation Procedures, Work Instructions, Toolbox talks

  • Determine how Human Resources need to change to manage the COVID-19 specific requirements e.g. report medical conditions, sick leave, isolation requirements, testing requirements

  • Is access control a risk e.g. biometric system and breathalyzer need to be managed and sanitized to prevent infections or not used

Communicate the plan

It is critical that the plan is communicated to all employees, contractors, suppliers, visitors, or any person who may enter the workplace when work commence.

Execute and monitor the plan

There will come a day when the plan needs to be executed. It is important to ensure the team or person managing the plan monitors how the plan is executed. The execution is most probably not going to work a 100% as planned, therefore the plan executor need to understand why things are done differently and ensure the plan is adjusted and the risk assessment reviewed to determine if people are exposed to additional risks or higher risks than expected.

Improve the plan

With every step you will need to refer back to your risk assessment. Any additional risks or increase in risk rating need to be identified and controls measure increased to prevent infection or spreading of the virus.

It is important to monitor the execution and progress of the plan to ensure risks are immediately identified and controlled. The plan needs to be monitored by audits, checklists, and other tools to ensure effectiveness and any future improvements have been identified and implemented. The quicker you know the problem the quicker you will be able to respond and reduce the impact of a possible infection or multiple infections or even another closure.

Be off good courage, the Human race has always excelled out of abnormal conditions and we will once again do so with new and inspired ideas and opportunities. I want to invite you to use your creative abilities and try something NEW.

For more detailed approach to your own business Post COVID-19 lockdown return to work plan please contact use at info@elint.co.za we have trained and professional consultants who can assist with your plans, execution and monitoring. We use Elint risk register to risk assess the business processes, suggest control measures which will be monitored and managed through the different Elint modules remotely if needed.

Together we can ensure your employees and customers are protected when doing business.


Image: : Bioworld.com


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