Return to work: support your people with a robust system

HSI Donesafe

By Matt Browne, Co-Founder, Donesafe
Thursday, 04 November, 2021

Return to work: support your people with a robust system

With more Australians returning to work as we reach milestone vaccination rates, the onus is on employers to prioritise workplace safety when it comes to the risk of the pandemic. Integrating technology and automation into your safety management procedures can not only streamline essential compliance requirements, but also helps your employees feel more confident and supported as they return to work.

The global pandemic threw us many curveballs, with different industries being affected in vastly different ways. This is still the case as we return to work in Sydney and Melbourne, with constant shifts in government regulations and restrictions making compliance requirements difficult to manage. But there are ways to make it easier, and ensure your business remains compliant, mitigate risk and support the health and wellbeing of your employees. With all the uncertainty that surrounded the lockdown periods, it’s important to help your workers feel safe and confident about coming back. With reliable, robust and effective safety management procedures in place, you can limit productivity drain and also increase the wellbeing of your teams.

The pandemic caused every business to review and adapt safety management procedures, but with return-to-work regulations around the virus varying across industries and states it can feel complex. For example, vaccination mandates imposed on health care in New South Wales mean workers have until 30 November to be fully vaccinated to continue working. It is an employer’s responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure workers comply with these orders, and this all has to be recorded for compliance. Employers also face privacy obligations when collecting vaccination details, making it more challenging to monitor vaccination status. With this information falling under the Australian Privacy Act, employers need to ensure that only personal information which is reasonably necessary to prevent or manage the virus in the workplace is collected, used or disclosed.

This is just one scenario where a centralised environmental health and safety (EHS) software system can make a real difference. I am a big believer in technology and its ability to streamline operations, especially when it comes to workplace health, safety and compliance. Advanced systems have the appropriate privacy measures in place, so the data you need is collected and you have appropriate visibility over the vaccination status of your workforce. Once an employee’s vaccination status is recorded and compliance requirements are met, identifying data (like vaccination certificates) are removed from the system. This gives people assurance their details are secure.

An easy-to-use app allows employees to enter their own details, with automated reminders and prompts saving time and taking the pressure off administration staff to physically collect and record data. By centralising this information, you’re taking the necessary steps to remain compliant, while giving your employees the support they need when they’re feeling extra pressure amid constant change. The capabilities of an EHS software extend well beyond vaccination status records of course. And they can be customised to suit your specific industry and business needs, as those requirements change.

Whether or not industry vaccination mandates are in place, employers still have a responsibility to follow virus-safe work procedures to give their teams confidence they are safe at work — and protect their wellbeing, both physically and mentally. It’s important to reduce the risk of employees being exposed to the virus, and also reduce anxiety about returning to work. The right policies, procedures and systems can streamline this part of your operations, make sure you are compliant with a simple audit trail, give you visibility and control, and provide your people with peace of mind. Because they know you care about their health and safety.

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