Now that the economy is rising back up after the downfall due to the COVID-19, workplaces and organizations are opening up one by one. Even though we have come past this overwhelming phase of being quarantined, all of us are obviously excited to get out there and resume our normal lives. But when it comes to going back to our normal life of going out and working, it basically means that there will be contact between individuals now.
We’ll be using public transport, conducting meetings with a room full of people, using the same stairs as everyone, exchanging cash, and so many more activities that simply increases the risk of obtaining the virus.
How to keep organizations safe and away from the virus?
To begin with, all organizations must develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan as it helps in the guidance of protective actions against COVID-19. The immediate news from the federal, state, local, and territorial health agencies should be constantly updated and the actions should be taken accordingly. Once the updated news has been considered, the appropriate recommendations should be incorporated by utilizing the maximum of the available resources into the workplace-specific plans.
This plan should consider all the possible ways the virus can come in contact with an employee and should analyze and address the risk factor that is associated with the various kinds of employees and the kind of work they do at the organization; for example, on-field, janitor, cubical employees. Factors such as, how will the employees come in contact with the virus, what is the most prone way to attract the virus, how can the organization protect the employees from coming in contact with the virus, etc.
The Covid-19 is mainly attracted to old age and children, due to their low immunity. This is why, it is important to not allow employees of the age 55+, to enter the workplace. Along with the senior employees, the ones who have breathing problems such as asthma or have weak lungs should also stay put at home and work from there. Those employees who bring along their child to work should consider and act on keeping their child as far away from the office as possible.
Employees having a fever, a minor cold or cough, should stay at home and must not attend to on fieldwork unless they have recovered completely. There needs to be strict and promising practice regarding hygiene that should be conducted all throughout the year, especially from now so that the number of deaths and ill individuals can be reduced. Employees must wear gloves in order to avoid any sort of direct contact with equipment and other individuals at work. The promotion of frequent and thorough washing of hands needs to be done. Usage of hand sanitizers or any sort of bacteria-killing alcohol should always be utilized.
When it comes to disposal of anything, the items need to be well covered before throwing it away, especially with tissue papers. Tissue papers, when used for a cough or cold, hold on to a lot of bacteria and germs which another individual should not encounter with Which is why, used tissue papers should be disposed carefully and should not be left carelessly anywhere that can spread the bacteria, such as a tabletop. Along with that, air conditioning should not be used irrespective of the climate or the weather. This is because the bacteria of COVID-19 travel easily through the air.
All these measures need to be taken into consideration and should be implied and followed by the respective employees. These safety measures are taken to avoid any sort of minute attraction that brings the entire workplace closer to Covid-19.
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Standards
OHSAS 18001, Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (officially BS OHSAS 18001), was a British Standard for occupational health and safety management systems. Compliance with it enabled organizations to demonstrate that they had a system in place for occupational health and safety. BSI adopted the International Organization for Standardization ISO 45001 in March 2018.
ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is the first and only International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) management, containing agreed good practice from around the world. It provides useful guidance and a framework to reduce work-related risks, protect the health, and increase safety at work.
ISO 45001 is applicable to all organizations, regardless of size, industry or nature of business. It is designed to be integrated into an organization’s existing management processes and follows the same high-level structure as other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).
ISO 45001 enables organizations to put in place an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. This will help them manage their OH&S risks and improve their OH&S performance by developing and implementing effective policies and objectives.
Key benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Standards
- Reduction of workplace incidents
- Reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, leading to increased productivity
- Reduced cost of insurance premiums
- Creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OH&S
- Reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve OH&S performance
- Ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements
- Enhanced reputation
- Improved staff morale
World Day for Safety and Health
Keeping safe and healthy in the workplace is a top priority at any time, but even more so in times like these. 28 April 2020 was celebrated as this year’s World Day for Safety and Health by International Labor organization. This is done at Work to address COVID-19 pandemic and increase awareness of occupational safety.
The new normal world of work has changed completely upside down. The primary challenge of enterprises is to keep themselves afloat while managing safety and security at work. It is applicable for both those employees, employers, even those who are already working and need to prepare for an eventual return.
The theme of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work is “Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives”. This year it identified the many unprecedented challenges that organizations face at this time and raises awareness of the importance of effective occupational health and safety services.
Workplace health, however, is not limited to physical safety and well-being. The stresses and fears that this period has induced impact us all. Workers everywhere could be affected by the prevailing uncertainty and their working environment plays a vital role in reducing this.
Recognizing this fact, work is underway to develop a complementary standard that addresses psychological health. The future ISO 45003, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Guidelines, will provide guidance on the requirements of ISO 45001 with respect to managing psychological health and safety risks within an OH&S management system.
Shan worked with Microsoft, IBM on multiple Information Security, Compliance leadership roles, and ventured into the startup world as CISO for an e-commerce platform company. He recognized the need for an affordable, easy to use GRC(Governance, Risk and Compliance) platform and started FixNix 7.5 years before, pioneering the Software as a Services model with it’s FreshGRC.com.