Managing change - Beyond COVID-19
Governments around the world have been required to act swiftly and decisively to slow the pandemic. This has produced opportunities for some businesses but most have had to operate differently just to survive. For example, restaurants, pubs and clubs now offer takeaway food and beverages, rather than in-house dining and manufacturers have retooled to produce a variety of essential personal protective wear such as surgical masks, gowns and hand sanitiser.
New processes, unfamiliar methods, new raw materials and increased stock levels may introduce new or higher risks. It is important that businesses recognise the risk as well as the opportunities that change brings and revise existing strategies or adopt new strategies to mitigate those risks.
The following resources can be used to help manage change and minimise the risks to your business during this pandemic and into the future.
Worker training and engagement
Workers may not be familiar with new processes or the hazards involved and may also be reluctant to change established work methods. Management should clearly communicate their commitment to change so that everyone understands what to expect, the necessity and the opportunities. Each new task should be evaluated by performing a job safety analysis. This will enable risks to employees and the business to be identified and minimised and identify any training needed. Refer to RM Insight® articles Managing hazardous tasks in the workplace, Communication, Training and Risk and the Vero self-inspection checklist Implementing safety systems at work.
Increased / differing use of existing plant and equipment
Increased production may require more frequent servicing, maintenance and cleaning of plant and equipment. For example, a commercial kitchen operating extended hours now requiring a contractor to clean the stove hoods and extraction ductwork monthly instead of every 3 months. Refer to RM Insight® article Cleaning of ducts and flues and the Vero self-inspection checklist Inspection and maintenance of refrigeration systems.
Differing or increased production may draw increased electricity causing overloads and overheating. Refer to the Vero self-inspection checklist Risk control for your electrical equipment and service which covers the need for sufficient power outlets, limited use of power boards and extension leads, testing of circuits and appliances.
The business is now in unchartered waters producing products and services different to that before. Refer to the Vero self-inspection checklist Quality control for production environments which covers obligations, responsibilities, a quality management system directive, testing, continual improvement, traceability and recall procedures.
Many businesses are taking the opportunity to bring forward renovation and construction works. Experience indicates that employees may not be familiar with the necessary risk controls dealing with multiple contractors on the premises. Refer to the Vero self-inspection checklists Contractor engagement and safe work practice and Minimise risk of property damage during construction works on your site and next door.
Businesses should recognise that contractor activities may well include hot work that generates a potential source of ignition. Refer to RM Insight® article Conducting hot work - Risks and control measures and the Vero Hot Work Permit form.
Change to the business could include increased stocks of raw materials, packaging and finished goods and the introduction of flammable or dangerous goods. Suitable storage facilities and risk controls are required to prevent exposure to sources of ignition or exceeding the capability of the fire suppression system. Yards may be in use for overflow storage. Refer to the Vero self-inspection checklists Managing risk of unstable/unsecured items and objects, Risk control for storage areas and RM Insight® articles Labelling of hazardous chemicals in the workplace and Storage and handling of combustible waste.
Risk control for the temporary closure of premises
The Vero checklist Risk control checklist for the temporary closure of premises - general provides details of potential hazards and recommendations for the temporary closure (or partial closure) of premises.
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This information contained in this Document is general in nature only and does not consider your specific risks and hazards, nor does it imply insurance coverage. It is not intended to be a substitute for appropriate professional advice. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the completeness or accuracy of this Document and you should consider whether it adequately covers all your hazards, risks or necessary considerations. AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Vero Insurance (“Vero”) and its related bodies corporate do not accept any legal responsibility or liability for negligence or otherwise to you or anyone else who seeks to use or rely on this Document. This includes, without limitation, loss arising from a possible failure of the Document to incorporate any applicable Australian Standards or identify any regulator, your statutory requirements, or other risks or hazards beyond those mentioned in the Document. V10916 12/05/20 A