Identifying Back-to-Work Strategies on World Day for Safety & Health at Work

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Signifying an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work conditions is the date – Apirl 28, which is recognised as the World Day for Safety & Health at Work. It also highlights the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases, on a global scale. It creates an awareness intended to focus global attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related injuries and deaths. In 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO), began to observe World Day to stress the prevention of accidents and diseases at work, playing upon the ILO’s traditional strengths of tripartism and social dialogue.

Why put the spotlight on health and safety? The safer the work environment, the more productive it is; and, it is obvious that more productive employees are an asset to all companies. Like productive employees can produce increased output in less time – prominently reducing operational costs. Workplace safety per se, promotes the wellness of employees and employers alike. Better safety equals better health. Healthier employees carry out tasks more efficiently, and they are happier in general.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way business functions. The pandemic has indeed created new challenges – especially for businesses looking to reopen. While managers and employees may feel a sense of urgency to get their business back to normal as soon as possible, some revised guidelines and practices need to be followed to allow for a safe, stable return.

While business leaders jumped in to implement business continuity plans, millions of employees switched to remote working on WFH mode. However, as the pandemic recedes and normal economic activity resumes, businesses will need to start planning their post COVID-19 back-to-work strategies, prioritizing workplace health and safety.

The unprecendted pandemic has indeed put the focus on health & safety – both at the workplace and home. So, let’s look at some post COVID Back-to-Work Strategies, considering business imperatives and risks. Here are some points to consider, that will help both business owners and entrepreneurs through key steps in reopening business, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:

• Ensure employee safety

• Evaluate business services & identify those that need to be located at the workplace or need to continue WFH mode

• Ensure your facility is fully clean, disinfected and also equipped with a blueprint for maintaining safe conditions.

• Set up a support system in place –  for employees; for remember, they return to work and need to adjust to new realities and emotional challenges, presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Create a plan for a ‘safe’ work environment that protects employees and customers alike, from risks connected to COVID-19, including exposure and transmission.

• Ensure effective governance & communication channels are open

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response is continuously evolving, as we learn more about the virus and identify what are the best techniques to address associated risks, at work and home. As time advances, this guidance may also evolve and change.

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