The importance of health and safety when operating with a reduced workforce

health and safety

For most businesses across the world, now is a time of great uncertainty and unease. As a result of the mass spread of COVID-19, businesses across all industries are experiencing a change to working patterns. For many, this includes incorporating remote working, perhaps for the first time.

But in some instances, you might find yourself still at work, but with a reduced workforce. Maybe the majority of your staff are working from home, but an essential, skeleton staff is necessary on-site each day. 

But what does this mean for your organisation’s health and safety? With 1.4 million work-related illnesses last year and 581,000 work-based injuries, health and safety compliance isn’t something you can ignore, even during a tumultuous time like this.

The importance of compliance

Just because there might be fewer employees on-site – and therefore less risk of an accident taking place – doesn’t mean you should take any chances. Basic health and safety regulations are in place for a reason: to protect your staff. 

Fewer people on-site means there might be no one around to help a co-worker should something go wrong. With fewer staff available to come to the aid of an injured employee, accidents could become more severe and damaging.

Keep things simple

When it comes to your health and safety documents, you want them to be easy to follow straight away. The information should be simple, clear, and broken down into easily implementable tests and checks. Checklists can be great for this. Identify a couple of key tasks that make sure everything essential is checked, secure, and clean. 

In a situation where you’re operating with a reduced workforce, you may have less-experienced staff picking up health and safety responsibilities for the first time. The last thing you want is to have them struggling through reams of information and technical jargon they don’t understand. 

With this in mind, try not to make health and safety documentation any more complicated than it needs to be. And wherever possible, make sure the tasks are easily transferable to any member of staff. Ideally, you want to make it straightforward for the right checks to be completed and the correct information collected by any member of staff.

Go back at a later date

When everything returns to normal, you can go back and revisit the information you collected and assess it more in-depth. Identify what needs some further attention, non-essential areas that might have been skipped, and take the time to get yourself back on track.

Once normal operation returns, figure out what in your process worked well and what needs more focus. You never know when you’ll need to transition to a reduced workforce again, so it pays to prepare for this eventuality ahead of time. It will be the perfect opportunity to get your staff trained and prepare simple checklists for next time.

Health and safety is an essential part of any business’s operation. And just because things are up in the air right now doesn’t mean health and safety regulations can be overlooked. A reduced workforce might mean you need to change a few habits and reimagine some of the processes, but safety should still be at the core of everything you do. 

We have a handy, simple to follow checklist you can use to make sure you stay on top of your daily operations at closed locations. You can download it for free here.

Inform People makes health and safety tests and checks simple, straightforward, and seamless. Get alerts on all the upcoming checks that are needed, simply sort through documentation, and keep everything organised and readily available. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch on 0161 713 4104.

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