Ensuring your WHS procedures are up to date for 2021.

It’s hard to believe that Covid-19 has been running our lives for almost a year now. The world has changed exponentially over the last 12 months, and the effect on business has been extreme.

It has always been vital to review your business and WHS practices on a yearly basis.

However, with the dawn of 2021, the focus on workplace health and safety is more important than ever.

In this guide, we are going to explore some steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of yourself, your staff members, and your customers.

Following government guidelines and health orders are going to be a priority at the moment since there are heavy fines for anyone not doing so.

It’s best to keep an eye on your state’s current health orders to ensure that you are doing the right thing, however, standard hygiene practice is vital.

Staying 1.5 meters apart, wearing masks where mandated, limiting contact with clients and peers, and frequently disinfecting equipment and surfaces have become standard in the workplace over the last 12 months.

What else can you be doing to keep your staff safe in 2021?

1. Look Back to Look Forward

Making sure that you’re not blindly setting new health and safety policies is vital to ensure that you are on the right path.

With the constant evolution of Covid-19 and all the information that is being released daily, it is important to make sure that you are setting policies according to current guidelines, not ones from the beginning of the pandemic.

Reviewing your old policies gives you a chance to decide what worked well and what didn’t. Anything that didn’t work as expected in 2020 needs to be changed or scrapped while procedures that did work can be kept or improved.

2. Cover Your Butt in Paper

Documentation matters, no matter what business you’re in.

Keep your old documents, either on the cloud in digital form or hard copies.

Ensure that they are marked “obsolete” or similar, and date them so that you’re aware of new policies coming into effect. Archive safely.

Ensure that all new documentation is in order. It needs to be valid – signed and dated. Double-check that all staff contracts are in order too.

Documents need to be adequate, appropriate, and effective.

3. Inspect Your Gear

While some equipment requires monthly or weekly checks, certain gear only requires an annual inspection and what better time than the beginning of the year?

As well as tools and machinery, it’s a good idea to include personal protective equipment too. Boots should still have the appropriate grip, safety vests should fit properly, helmets should be in good condition, and safety glasses should still be clear.

4. Who You Gonna Call?

No, not the Ghostbusters (this time!).

Ensuring that onsite emergency information is up to date can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

Your staff needs to know the chain of command if an emergency arises – there is no point calling someone who can’t help you in an emergency or doesn’t know what to do. 

If immediate action needs to be taken, it is best if everyone knows who they need to call under each circumstance.

5. Distractions are… ohhh shiny object!

When writing new health and safety policies, consider what could be distracting within the work environment.

Ensuring your team’s full concentration while completing a task can have a profound effect on both productivity and safety.

Removing anything that isn’t conducive to a safe and focussed work environment can go a long way towards keeping your staff safe.

6. Risky Business

Identifying new risks and potential problems is a must, especially while navigating business in the time of a pandemic.

As much as COVID-19 is an ongoing risk from 2020, the changing nature of the virus means that keeping up with new guidelines is vital.

Have masks been mandated in your state? Have you reiterated the importance of social distancing and regular handwashing and sanitising with your staff?

Since you’re unable to track staff member’s movements outside the workplace, all you can do is to ensure that they are following the rules at work.

If staff members are able to work from home, allow this as much as possible.

Be prepared to shut down operations immediately if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. require tests from the rest of your employees and inform any clients they have been in contact with.

7. Mental Health Matters

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the world’s collective mental health has been taking a hit over the last year.

Although tradies have continued to work most of the way through the pandemic, they may experience anxiety surrounding going into people’s houses all day, knowing that they are potentially putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus.

Alternativley, if you have had certain members of staff mainly working from home but are now starting to get them back into the office, remember that this may have an impact as they have likely grown used to having more time at home with families.

Provide education and support wherever possible. Make sure that you have an open-door policy and allow staff members with depressive symptoms some leeway, if you’re able to do so.

8. Call in the Experts!

Lastly, make sure that everything you’re doing is above board and effective.

If you’re unsure, be safe rather than sorry. Consult an expert for guidance (we are always happy to help). 

Remember that safe workers and clients is a priority.

You can get in touch with us via our website – www.ohscompliancesolutions.com.au or phone 1800 430 782

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