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New Covid health and safety training 'needed to improve compliance'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Covid-19 induced changes to workplace protocols meant to keep people safe - particularly in construction where working from home isn’t an option - will be handicapped by low adoption until formal training makes Covid compliance part of the workplace mindset and culture.

Announcing the launch of a new Covid health and safety training programme designed to give workers a formal set of skills around managing Covid risk, Jason Braithwaite, the General Manager of New Zealand health and safety training provider Besafe Training Ltd said balancing a growing menu of workplace risks should be a priority.

"Managing a range of tasks in addition to existing health and safety processes means new Covid safety protocols are just one more worry. As a result, it is either a distraction that puts workers at risk from other hazards or the Covid protocols get neglected, and that’s not a great outcome either.

"The Covid training programme from BeSafe Training is designed to help workers efficiently integrate the new pandemic protocols into their current suite of workplace health and safety skills and processes."

Braithwaite said the modern workplace is overwhelmed with mandates from clients, the Government, insurance companies, and employees themselves. Not only does this causes safety and efficiency issues, but it also adds costs and time delays to a project.

"Part of the Government mandates, indeed around Covid, is to demonstrate that you have done everything reasonable to bring your employee along on the journey, and that includes training employees and educating management.

"If employees understand Covid better, what it does, how it is transmitted and best how to avoid it - which is needed to counter all the fake news and information overload - we will be in a better position to keep our workplaces safe."

He offered some suggestions on how bosses can better prepare staff for the pandemic affected worksite:

1. Counter the misinformation

Braithwaite says Facebook and other social media are riddled with misleading information. However, employers are in a position of trust and are therefore better positioned to inform their staff of the facts.

2. Overcome information filters

Workers are at risk of information overwhelm, so the tendency is to filter out messages that are not deemed necessary.

"Consider all the information that you need to communicate to staff and then balance the delivery of that information so that it is acknowledged and understood. A planned and deliberate programme of education can help ensure better engagement."

3. Maintain awareness

"Formal training and regular awareness activities - meetings, slogans, posters etc. - that communicate good quality information in a way that is relatable and meaningful is needed to ensure that Covid safety and awareness becomes an integral part of workplace culture," Braithwaite said.

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