With Melbourne slowly reopening and things gradually getting back to ‘normal’, it is crucial that all companies have implemented a clear COVID-Safety plan. Not only does this help organisations approach this issue in a structured manner, it also provides a reassurance to staff, customers, and stakeholders that a business treats this issue seriously, and is taking the appropriate steps to ensure a safe workplace for everyone. Businesses in the manufacturing industry need to be particularly mindful of the risks COVID poses to their operations, and what strategies they should be implementing to ensure all staff are aware of their responsibilities, that there are clear COVID-Safety strategies in place, and that their operations is meeting its regulatory obligations. This article will discuss some of the COVID risks that manufacturing businesses may be exposed to, and the steps they should be taking to successfully address them.
The manufacturing industry faces unique COVID risks
Due to the unique operational set up of many manufacturing companies, they may have to address unique COVID compliance challenges that businesses in other industries do not. For example, the sharing of plant and equipment between staff could increase COVID exposure risks, unless appropriate steps are taken address this. Also, manufacturing materials and products may be distributed through multiple touchpoints across a workplace, meaning that staff are in contact with objects that have previously been handled by others. Staff may also be at risk of breaching social distancing guidelines when working in close proximity with their colleagues for a prolonged period, or when receiving packages from delivery drivers, which could happen throughout the workday. Manufacturing businesses need to be particularly mindful of COVID-Safety challenges such as these, and develop active strategies for minimising potential outbreaks.
A COVID-Safe plan helps control risks
Manufacturing businesses can work at addressing their COVID risks by developing and implementing a COVID-Safe plan, which works at meeting and maintaining the directions of both the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and Victoria’s public health directions. The COVID-Safe plan should be developed by the businesses Health and Safety Representatives, address the scope of COVID compliance issues applicable to the business, clearly state what the business is doing to identify, mitigate, and control COVID risks, what the organisation will be doing in the event of an outbreak, and so on.
A COVID-Safe plan discusses common COVID risks that businesses may be exposed to, and requires individual organisations to provide a response regarding what steps they will be taking to address them. It addresses common risks regarding social distancing, wearing face masks, and practicing good hygiene, while requiring companies to explain what record keeping processes they will have in place to keep track of who enters their workplace, who they interacted with, and so on.
Further, a COVID-Safe plan also advises businesses about effective COVID-Safety strategies they should consider implementing across their operations to promote onsite safety, ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities, and meet their regulatory obligations. One of the final sections in the plan is of particular relevance to manufacturing businesses, as it discusses various COVID risks relating to enclosed spaces and ventilation, and possible strategies for addressing these risks to achieve compliance. The plan discusses what businesses could be doing to enhance ventilation, ensure there is a constant fresh air flow within the premises, and so on.
Our OH&S specialists are here to answer your questions
COVID-Safe plans are available for free download at the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website. However, after reading this article you may have some specific queries that you would like to pitch to an Occupational Health and Safety specialist, who can talk you through the specifics of your situation, and help your business develop straight-forward, compliant strategies for addressing its COVID challenges.
In particular, manufacturing businesses should commission an occupational hygiene audit of their worksites, which identify, assess, and help control the scope of their onsite occ. hygiene risks, such as poor ventilation, dust and heat exposure, and so on. This process sees qualified occupational hygienists travel to worksites, under COVID-Safe conditions, and use scientific processes to measure the extent of staff exposure to environmental hazards, and develop strategies for keeping the workplace safe. Further, businesses looking to develop COVID-Safe strategies should consider implementing the ISO 45001 OH&S Standards, which is an internationally recognised Business Management System that helps companies develop effective, compliant work health and safety practices across their operations.
Please contact our specialist consultants today by filling out this simple contact us form, or by phone on 1300 802 163 for a short, obligation-free consultation about some of the COVID compliance challenges your business is facing, and what you could be doing to effectively address them. Following this, they can arrange for one of our specialist consultants to work closely with your company to help it achieve its COVID compliance goals, and uphold its reputation as a business that promotes high safety standards.