The priorities of HR professionals have begun to shift once again, now that lock-down restrictions are being lifted. HR departments have always had a role to play in employee training and helping to ensure staff follow company procedures but in a Covid-19 environment, these requirements are linked to health and safety, wellbeing and legislation more than ever before.
Education and Risk Assessment
A key part of any mandatory Covid-19 Risk Assessment process and implementation plan needs to include ensuring staff are aware of what you are doing and what is expected of them. We have already highlighted the need for communication to make employees feel safe in a recent blog.
As an HR department, it will be important to ensure any risk assessment processes and subsequent implementations are easily understandable for all employees. That not only includes signage, equipment and sanitisation processes but clarity around what is being done, why it is being done and ways of ensuring that the processes become part of normal behaviour.
A culture change may happen automatically if many employees have already been exposed to lock-down restriction and have a heightened awareness, but techniques around changing behaviour may need to be employed to instil greater hygiene and social distancing considerations as the norm.
Education and PPE
Over the coming weeks and months, employees may well contact their HR manager for reassurance and support over many COVID-19 decisions. For example, an employee may ask whether they should be wearing a face mask, or whether or not they should be wearing gloves. A risk assessment will help the organisation determine what PPE is required for the business, but it isn't just about what an employee wears, it is about how they wear it.
For example, gloves are an important element of virus mitigation, but only if the right size of glove is worn and the gloves are disposed of safely. You must help your employees and colleagues to make decisions based on facts and evidence, not based on unreliable news sources. Our blog post on sticking to the facts can help your employees make these choices. Check out a useful guide on the different types of masks here. A mask can be easily contaminated, so if employees are going to wear one they need to be aware of the benefits it brings, the risks that still exist and how to apply and remove it - this is answered on the World Health Organisations website.
Education and Hygiene
We mentioned clarity around the 'why' above - understanding the importance of hygiene needs to be part of an organisations new culture. There is also learnings around the 'how' such as washing your hands and how best to keep desks and work area equipment sanitised. Knowing how long viruses can live on surfaces could help with that.
Employee Rights and HR Requirements
At HeathBrook we are experts in PPE and also having a very strong understanding of the benefits and nuances of various virus mitigation products. We are in a position to help HR professionals navigate some of the questions they may face - contact us on 0118 931 3200.
We have also found a couple of sites that may be of use for questions around employee rights, such as whether you can insist on being able to take an employee's temperature and how to navigate an employee's reaction to a changing working landscape.