COVID-19 Back-to-Work and Crisis Management Tips for Trades Companies
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in more ways than one. In particular, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to adapt by adjusting their operations. Taking such a step is not only necessary to follow new government regulations; it’s also crucial to safeguard everyone’s health.
One of the most affected businesses is trades companies, simply because they often involve in-person interactions. And while New Zealand is at Alert Level 1—meaning the disease has been contained, schools and workplaces can operate following safety protocols, and there are no restrictions on personal movement—this doesn’t mean that you can already take precautions for granted.
Here are some crucial tips to keep in mind to ensure that you’re prepared when you get back to work:
Have a COVID Action Plan
COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that continues to mutate. Thus, you need to be prepared to handle matters just in case someone shows symptoms. The most important thing to do is to have a sound contact-tracing system in place. This way, you can easily coordinate with everyone who may have had exposure.
Sanitising and disinfecting the area can also be helpful, as well as providing a secure isolation area for the individuals who may have been infected. Finally, make sure that you have ample protection for people who are considered high-risk.
Invest in Health & Safety Training
Workplace health and safety training is essential if you want to instil confidence in your employees as well as your clients. When people know what to do in cases of emergencies, when they know how to protect themselves and other people against various hazards, they can act more decisively. More importantly, they can remain calm and prevent others from panicking.
In addition, health and safety training is something that will be useful even after the threat of COVID-19 subsides. Simply put, it’s a worthwhile investment that will continue to be valuable no matter the situation.
Provide COVID-Specific Training
Again, COVID-19 is a new disease. It’s unlike anything the medical and scientific communities have seen before, which is why everyone should take extra care to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s also important to know as much about the disease as possible in order to understand the way it spreads and how it affects people. In times like these, knowledge is indeed power.
Aside from educating your personnel about COVID, it’s also helpful to provide training on how to identify the disease’s symptoms. Proper hygiene practices must also be reinforced, particularly hand-washing. It’s also important to educate personnel about the types, correct usage, and proper disposal of personal protective equipment or PPE.
Last but not the least, encourage people to report health and safety concerns to proper authorities so such concerns can be rectified.
Follow Safety Protocols at All Times
Depending on the job, it can be a little difficult for tradespeople to follow safety protocols. However, it’s of utmost importance that these protocols are followed to prevent the spread of disease.
One of the most important rules, so to speak of COVID prevention and management is to maintain a two-metre gap between individuals. Physical distancing is a must because the virus droplets can travel quite far and can stay in the air for about three hours if aerosolised. Sanitising machinery, vehicles, and other shared equipment should also be observed to minimise the risk of transmission.
Do note that due to the newness of COVID-19, new health protocols may be released in the future. Keep yourself abreast of these developments so you can properly cascade new information to your team.
As you transition back to work, it’s important to conduct frequent assessments of your current policies to identify any “weak spots” and other issues. For example, a particular space may need a boost in ventilation for two reasons: decreasing the risk of spreading the virus and increasing comfort of workers.
Reassessing your protocols can also help conserve supplies, redirect resources, and even improve peace of mind. Don’t forget to involve ALL stakeholders when making such assessments to ensure that any adjustments will be for everyone’s benefit.
Make Sanitation Options Accessible
As the medical and scientific experts have reiterated, proper sanitation is one of the best ways to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In particular, hand-washing using soap and clean running water can already deactivate the virus. Make sure that these supplies are easily available in workplaces, along with supplies to dry one’s hands. Disposable paper towels are much better in this case, since reusable towels can remain damp for hours and can thus harbour bacteria.
If soap and water aren’t readily available, hand sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol will suffice. Consider providing both personnel and customers or guests with disposable disinfectant wipes, as well.
These actions may seem tedious, but these are necessary to curb the spread of disease. New Zealand has been recognised as one of the countries with the best responses COVID-19 and these measures will ensure that the progress won’t be undone.