During the first half of 2020, much of the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses were temporarily shut down and workers were told to stay home but the lockdown could not last forever.

As the world economy is slowly rebounding from the crisis, it is essential that workplace safety is higher than ever. Apart from the usual dangers, now there is the danger of infection with the new strain of the coronavirus, making 2020 the year of company safety.

An aging workforce

The more develop a society is, the longer the average lifespan. There is nothing odd with this demographic trend but tech solutions at work need to adapt to an ever-older workforce. Since older workers have their physical ability reduced, they require machinery, tools, and equipment that is more ergonomic than ever. Easy-to-use tools are becoming the standards across industries and this is likely to continue in the years to come.

Adopting a holistic approach to health

Warning off a dangerous virus involves more than buying cartloads of disinfectant and pouring it in wall dispensers. Namely, you can use the opportunity to adopt a holistic approach to workplace safety and workers’ health.

Such a proactive approach to health issues involves rewarding positive safety behaviors. The old methods involved the opposite: disciplining negative safety behavior, which is ineffective in the long run. In this sense, wellness programs aren’t considered as a luxury but more of a necessity.

Encourage employees to report unsafe working conditions

The previous decades were marked by a struggle of some employees to conceal poor working conditions. Workers who would dare report such conditions were either disciplined or fired. However, this is an example of the behavior you want to avoid in 2020.

Quite the contrary, workers should be encouraged to report unsafe working conditions. As the employer, you are obliged by the legislation in nearly every country in the world to provide safe working conditions and fair treatment of all employees. Make sure managers understand this early on!

Short but regular breaks

Although the image of several workers smoking behind the business might seem like slacking off at the job, this is actually a behavioral pattern you want to see more of. Namely, smoking a fag takes up to 10 minutes, which is around the ideal length of a work break. Longer breaks should be made only for breakfast or lunch.

The logic behind frequent, yet short break is that eight hours is a long time, and as the workday nears its end workers are less focused on the tasks ahead. As a result, they are less likely to make mistakes, resulting in fewer workplace accidents.

Being ready for a chemical spill

Speaking of accidents at work, these can quickly turn deadly in factories and warehouses that store hazardous materials. If you too have dangerous goods on the lot, get chemical spill kits to protect both your employees and the environment in case of a disaster. Apart from chemical hazards, oil and other types of spills can occur, so make sure workers have the requisite PPE.

The importance of ergonomics

We’ve mentioned at the beginning that the workforce around the globe is getting older. This only further stresses the importance of ergonomics at work. Things like workspace design have the potential to attract new employees to your firm.

Just imagine the excitement of a new hire when they found out that their work desk and chair are going to be custom-made according to their preferences. Ergonomics are all about details; for instance, you need to set the height of the keyboard ideally to avoid pain in the back, wrists, and shoulders.

Define safety procedures to the letter

No matter how good and trained your staff is, there are always going to be individuals seeking to flout safety standards. However, you first need to introduce safety standards, protocols, and procedures that are clearly delineated.

You’d be surprised by the number of enterprises that have unclear safety standards, making it easy for their employers to ignore them. Documents, briefings, drills, safety signage, etc., should all be integral parts of safety procedures at a company level.

Stay up to date with new technologies

In 2020, one of the biggest challenges is going to stay up to date with novel technologies. Apart from the commercial sector of your business where you already have a future tech team, the HR department needs to follow new technologies that boost company safety. Recently, there has been a rise in smartphone apps that track COVIS-19 cases, for example. 

There are so many trackers and other wearables that workers can benefit from, so be sure to visit trade fairs to stay up to date with the latest technology. In fact, the future of occupational health is going to be shaped by, web-based platforms, and the aforementioned wearable technology.

2020 is foremost a year of challenges both for workers and their families, as well as businesses worldwide. That is why the latter part of this year will be marked by an increased focus on company safety.

Author's Bio: 

Mia Johnson is a writer with a ten-year-long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.