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The WHO has recently declared the current Covid-19 outbreak a world-wide pandemic, and although at this stage New Zealand is somewhat isolated from the major effects of the epidemic, it is prudent for all organisations to take action to maintain the Health and Safety of their workplace and the community at large.
The first step is to recognise that there are Health and Safety issues outside of preventing the spread of infection and reducing the risk of catching the virus. Living in a Pandemic environment creates stress and anxiety on its own, as well as issues around business confidence, employment security and family members who may be more susceptible to the serious consequence of infection. The nature of the construction industry and the mental pressures experienced are very real, and the Covid-19 threat only adds to this dynamic.
The three most important things to do at this stage are;
(a) Talk to your people,
(b) talk to your people, and
(c) talk to your people.
All organisations need a Pandemic Plan, the Safety Charters can be found here. We have recognised five distinct levels of Alert, and the actions required and potential consequences for reduced business activity at each level. Remember to consider both supply and demand pressures, and both the financial and emotional impact of business interruption on all levels of the organisation. Consider how you will look after your people, safe guard your workplaces, and what will happen if and when a member of your team becomes infected. Always plan for the worst, and hope for the best
The Government’s Corona Virus Financial package provides some security for workers and businesses affected through a wage subsidy and sick leave schemes. Further measures are planned for the May Budget
Below are a links to a series of resources which you may find useful. Please share these with your team members.
Finally, please realise that every little action can have a big effect. By slowing the rate of infection within New Zealand we will give the health system time to cope with cases as they develop, rather than becoming overwhelmed with demand exceeding capacity.
No one can predict exactly how this will pan out, how long the effects will last, and what the long term social and economic impacts might be. What we know for sure is that this is not the first pandemic to threaten the planet, nor will it be the last. The hope is that the lessons learnt now will help us in the future.
Health Ed – Resource
Advance Safety – Covid-19 online information training
Department of Health
Safe Travel Guide
World Health Organisation
Healthline 0800 number (0800 358 5453) for COVID-19 health advice and information