Australian business’ have faced unprecedented challenges this year, which have completely altered the way they operate. Many business’ have been completely shut to the public for months, while others have been operating in a heavily restricted, adapted work environment, which has presented staff and customers with a series of novel challenges that come with dealing with the business. However, the Australian public’s strong commitment to adhering to COVID-Safe practices, through strategies such as social distancing, strong personal hygiene, and wearing masks, has resulted in a positive outcome for the wider community, with the virus’ spread being significantly minimised due to the public’s commitment to the health and safety of themselves and others.
The successful application of COVID-Safe practices amongst the community has been rewarded with retail outlets, cafes, and gyms, now getting the greenlight about when they can reopen to the wider community. However, this presents another set of occupational health and safety concerns, as many organisations are now faced with a new set of challenges concerning how to safely resume their operations, and how to ensure the health and safety of all staff and customers while onsite. It is beneficial for business’ to approach this challenge in a systematic, structured manner, as companies that can publicly demonstrate their commitment to keeping their staff and customers safe will have the edge when it comes to consumer confidence, which works at maintaining the business’ reputation, and ensuring that customers are committed to do business with them.
An effective method for business’ reopening to the wider community, to help them gain customer confidence of their premises being safe to visit, and that all potential health and safety risks have been identified and minimised, is to employ a certified Occupational Health and Safety Management System, which helps companies approach their work health and safety concerns in a systematic, structured manner. The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Standards acts as the go-to guide for business’ wanting to develop and utilise the highest work health and safety standards possible, as it provides them with an internationally certified, demonstrably successful, set of OH&S standards and guidelines that they can implement across their operations, to demonstrate their commitment to proactive customer health and safety practices, and to prove that they are adopting a forward-thinking approach when it comes to health and safety concerns, by identifying and minimising risks before they can endanger anyone onsite.
A Step-by-Step Approach to WHS ensures Worthwhile High Sanitation
The ISO 45001:2018 standards adopt a pro-active, risk assessment approach to work health and safety. This means that rather than simply working to mitigate the effects of OH&S issues after they occur, the standards can work with your business to help it develop a holistic, progressive approach to OH&S. This ensures that strong WHS practices become an ingrained part of the business’ overall structure, which means that potential issues are clearly identified and mitigated against before they can impact operations, and that there is a clear, systematic approach in place for dealing with any unexpected issues that arise. Specifically, the ISO 45001 Standards can work with your business, to help it:
- Develop a plan regarding the OH&S requirements of the physical environment that staff and customers will be in. This could include devising a social distancing plan, placing clear signage throughout the business about people’s responsibilities while onsite, and ensuring that desks and other workspaces are adequately spaced to be in-line with COVID-Safe guidelines. Doing this not only keeps staff and customers safe, it also upholds the reputation of the business as one committed to the health and safety of everyone onsite, as people will be able to see the steps your business is taking to keep everyone onsite safe.
- Operate in the most efficient manner possible. A business that has employed strong OH&S practices increases its chances of running safely and smoothly, with minimal downtime. By utilising internationally certified OH&S standards, your business will have clear processes and procedures in place for identifying, cataloguing, and handling OH&S matters, which significantly reduces their detrimental effects on operations. This means that your business will continue to run efficiently and effectively.
- Develop a clear chain-of-command for dealing with potential OH&S issues. This includes the development of an across-the-board hierarchy of responsibility that all staff are briefed on, so they know what to do in the event of an issue, who to report to, what their own responsibilities are, and so on. Further, by streamlining the managerial oversight of the business, you are able to develop the role of an onsite ‘COVID safety officer’, an employee who has the responsibility of ensuring that that business’ OH&S requirements in relation to COVID-19 are being met, and that any potential oversights are quickly addressed. By assigning someone with this clear responsibility, the business increases its chances of handling issues quickly and effectively, as no time is wasted working out who to report to, what the chain-of-command is, and so on.
- Develop an ongoing staff and customer hygiene plan. The standards help your business identify potential OH&S oversights, and through the simple implementation of a hygiene plan, business’ are able to counter these issues. A hygiene plan will ensure that the business always has adequate personal hygiene equipment, and information, onsite, such as hand sanitiser, wipes, and appropriate signage. This not only ensures that the business’ hygiene practices are second-to-none, it can also increase both customer and staff morale, by publicly demonstrating a commitment to onsite health and safety.
An OH&S management system can boost morale, confidence, and customer satisfaction
Perception is everything when it comes to commerce. Business’ that are publicly seen to be practicing strong, effective OH&S standards will have a much higher chance of attracting customers, getting people to choose to purchase from them, and maintaining their good reputation amongst the wider community. This is why it is crucial for business’ to approach OH&S matters from a number of perspectives, where they not only address what their health and safety responsibilities are, and how they can be met through effective OH&S practices, but also what concerns the wider community might have about visiting business’ at the moment, and how they can allay these concerns through effective health and safety management. Doing so can give business’ the edge in a tough marketplace.
If you would like to get the lowdown on how an effective OH&S management system can help your operations achieve its business goals, then please give Anitech’s safety consultants a call today on 1300 802 163. To get the most out of the consultation, please have in mind the specific OH&S concerns your business would like to address. They will be able to talk you through how these standards could be effectively applied to the specific requirements of your business to help it maintain high safety standards, streamline its operations, and uphold its reputation as a safe, reputable organisation. While there are no shortcuts when it comes to occupational health and safety, wouldn’t you agree this streamlined process sounds like a secure prospect?
Please click here to read more about how implementing an OH&S Management system demonstrates a commitment to safety.