13 Nov The top 5 workplace safety considerations for 2021
It has been a topsy turvy year, with COVID-19 changing the way we work and also presenting new workplace hazards to consider. It is likely that many of these hazards will remain a concern moving forward and it is important that workplaces across all industries conduct fresh risk assessments to identify and mitigate these new world challenges.
To ensure your workplace is totally compliant and your workers safe, here are the top 5 workplace safety considerations you should be looking at ahead of 2021:
Advanced or smart personal protective equipment (PPE)
Many industries like mining, food preparation, exploration and chemical operations are well versed in the use of PPE. 2020 was the year that PPE became a mainstream essential for every business across all industries to ensure they could remain open amidst the global pandemic.
There is a new wave of PPE hitting the market that includes sensors built in that can monitor and detect hazards, deliver data and help keep your workplace safe. It can be used to detect harmful agents in the air, but it can also take biometric measurements so you can tell from a central dashboard if a worker is under too much pressure, is dehydrated, is drunk or on drugs – even fatigue and alertness.
Improved heat management strategies
The year 2019 was Australia’s hottest on average since records began being taken by the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology. We also experienced horror, record bushfires across 2019/20. It was also Australia’s driest year on record and there were significant heatwaves in large parts of the country.
Rising summer temperatures mean that many industries need to be monitoring this heat and ensuring workplaces are safe. This is not isolated to outside workers either, with places like warehouses and hospitality kitchens literal hotspots for heat-related illness and injuries.
For the time being, COVID-19 is with us for the long haul. There could be outbreaks or clusters pop up in your local area at any time if there are any relaxing protocols, so don’t expect the days of having sanitisation stations and dedicated hygiene rules to disappear anytime soon.
In fact, it is likely these rules are going to be ramped up and entrenched in safe work compliance so education, training and proper provisions for hygiene will be a major priority in all workplaces in 2021.
More people working from home
Enforced lockdowns in 2020 meant many businesses and companies had to fast track flexible work plans and migrate to a remote working environment. Many of these businesses discovered they liked the benefits this model brought to the table and many workers remain working from home, even though the option to work in the office is available.
Workplace safety extends to these employees’ homes as well though, so proper risk management and site assessment practices need to be employed to ensure these home offices are safe. A staff member who falls or trips at home can claim workers compensation just the same as if they tripped or fell at the office or job site.
There will be more people on the road
More and more industries are taking to the road again – and that trend is going to continue. The Amazon era means there are more delivery and courier drivers on the road than ever, medical professionals are making house calls again and ride-sharing apps mean more and more people are behind the wheel as part of their job.
This makes it harder for supervisors and managers to monitor their workforce and ensure they are safe. This is where JMS comes in, providing a simple to use application that feeds journey data back to a central dashboard so managers can ensure their workers reach their destinations safely. Journeys include geofenced checkpoints, including mandatory fatigue management stops so that if a driver fails to reach a checkpoint alerts are sent to management.
The app uses the GPS functionality of the device and will send a last known location if the mobile device is out of range. And when the trip is complete, the app automatically disengages so the user’s privacy is protected.
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