With some businesses temporarily changing work conditions to assist with lessening the impact of Covid-19 on the business productivity. It is important to also consider and check that the business is still meeting operational and, health and safety responsibilities.
Splitting up the workforce into teams that complete separate shifts, have no contact with each other or work remotely, is a great control to ensure that if Covid-19 appears in your business, the business is not greatly impacted financially, and the whole team will not have to isolate or get sick at the same time.
It is ideal to have a plan in place, with the thought process of, that if that a team / key person goes down and you cannot contact them, the company can continue in a smooth manner.
The most important responsibilities to remember is ensuring there are people on each team that have the ability to complete specialised tasks and / or trained for emergency situations.
Emergency situations are one of the most important skillsets to consider incase things go wrong.
• Is there a first aider and fire warden on each team?
• Do you need someone on the team who is able to attend to any chemical spills?
• Can you perform a rescue plan with the team available?
• Are there enough people on the team to complete the job in a safe manner?
Some other skillsets to consider are:
• There is a person who has competency and approval to train and supervise other team members.
• Give approval to change the work plan and communicate the changes to key contacts.
• Purchase goods that are needed immediately
• Quote potential jobs that enquire
• Is there a certain task that can only be carried out by certain people (e.g. welding, confined space, EWP, quality control sign off, account, maintenance)
Often in the workplace there are low importance tasks that could wait for 2 weeks to be completed. What are the low importance tasks? What are the high importance tasks?
Are the high important tasks able to be done by each team?
When creating your separate work teams it is also important to consider the leadership of the team. Without a leader, a team can have little direction, and not everyone can be a leader.
Lack of leadership can be a burden on a company. The company may not perform as well and quality of workmanship can decrease, causing unhappy cliental.
A company should also consider how the management / leadership team will operate. It may make sense to have all the management team working together as one bubble, since they perform the same type of work; but what happens if that bubble needs to isolate or all get sick at the same time. What will happen to the leadership of the business without anyone available from this team?
Have leaders of a team identified and consider who would be there back up. Let that person know their responsibilities of being the leader and if this position is a temporary position during the Covid-19 Response Plan. Let the team know who their leader is.
Make the leaders of each team aware where they can find any important information that they may require to continue the business operations if the person in charge is not available due to illness.
Some key information may include:
• Keys to office / workshop
• Important passwords
• Charge accounts
• Jobs in the pipeline
• Quotes to follow up on
• Key contacts
It is understandable that not every business can separate its staff out.
However, if your business is unable to implement this separation control for Covid-19, it could be a good idea to have a plan in place if the team does need to isolate or becomes unwell.
Some key items that you may need to think about and put a plan in place for are:
• If you are on a site and you need to isolate / have the team on sick leave, are you able to keep your equipment / machines there for the isolation period? If you cannot leave them there, do you have someone with the skills available that can remove them from site?
• Do you need to organise another contractor to take over the job on your behalf? or can the job be placed on hold until you can return to work?
• Do you have the contact details for the client / site manager readily available? You might not be at work if you get the call of a close contact, and you will be isolating already if you went for a test.
• How accessible is your work information from home? Do you have all the information you require on your computer / on a cloud based file. You are welcome to utilise the H&S share files provided by OHS Consultants / Take 5 if you do not have a online file service already. We do not access these files unless we hear from you.
Our team are available if you require assistance with a Covid-19 Continue Work Plan. Please contact us if you require any advice.