As the return to the ‘new normal’ workplace starts to become the focus for many organisations as lockdown measures relax, International SOS urges businesses to make sure that the return is safe and sustainable. In many locations, it is also becoming evident that court cases may ensue if businesses do not implement the correct mitigation measures.
Mr. Neeraj Balani, Managing Director at International SOS, India comments, “The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a lethal and wide-reaching public health crisis our country has faced in a long time. Direct and indirect impacts of the global pandemic on business operations in India for all industries and sectors have been extensive.
Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts. While trying to ensure the sustainability of their business operations, organizations are looking for ways to protect their employees and guarantee their safety and wellbeing throughout return to work. Failure to do so may affect the sustainable return to operations and might also result in backlash and legal prosecutions as well.
Mr. Balani continues, “Majority of all Indian organizations are putting up vital preventive measures and guidelines which will help minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread and, fulfil the duty of care responsibilities and promote workforce resilience.
Irrespective of whether an office, a factory, a warehouse or even out on an oil rig, intelligence and ongoing actionable insights drawing from accurate and most up to date information and government guidelines are a must to assess threats, mitigate risks and provide swift treatment if needed, both from a logistical perspective and personal one, to return to workplace safely will take great measures for many businesses. It will be the organisations that implement the resilient and sustainable measures which will have the greatest chance of success in return to operations.”
International SOS highlights eight steps for returning to WORKSAFE operations:
Workspace environment: consider screening, zoning, barriers, cleaning protocols, ventilation, access, and the provision of PPE & IT equipment where needed.
Operations: isolation, essential hygiene, health and medical measures; health questionnaires and providing physical and mental health support.
Regulations: policies monitored, in line with Government regulations and ensuring medical needs are fully covered including Occupational Health and Safety and travel.
Knowledge: understanding of the latest quarantine and transport requirements and medical certificates. Ability to do contact tracing and quarantining in a timely manner. Privacy considerations are also a must.
Social distancing; limiting numbers to the workplace, space planning, staggering working hours and days, including A/B team shifts, continued flexible and remote working.
Alert: setup automated methods to be alerted to emerging threats: new local clusters, second waves, and changing security risks e.g. civil unrest
Fortify: establish partnerships with apolitical infectious disease experts, providing accurate and timely advice
Empowering employees: communication and training is key to deliver new workplace arrangements and policies. Engaging leadership and role modelling are critical. Effective complaint practices.
The details of this will be presented at a webinar: Returning to the Workplace – Key Issues for Employers and Dealing with the New Normal.