Tuesday 28 April is World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day and this year’s theme is Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives.
Every year World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day provides a time to think about how our actions can prevent future work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, and a day to remember those that have died from a work-related injury or illness.
At Knauf we believe that safety is driven by the attitudes and values of all our employees. In terms of our Health and Safety Policy we recognise that all injuries are preventable and that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone is obliged to raise concerns about safety.
“This year the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought with it a whole new set of challenges and the need to adapt to rapidly changing workplace practices,” says Knauf Australia Managing Director Gavin Burton.
“Usually when we think about WHS, we think about accidents and injuries, but COVID-19 has come to remind us that the outbreak of infectious diseases is a very real risk and that companies need to be prepared for it.”
Gavin said that he has been impressed by the cooperation and positive attitude of all the employees at Knauf Australia.
“Our staff have demonstrated that they are resilient and adaptable. We have introduced a range of new measures at all sites, including hygiene controls, social distancing and temperature screening. Many people have seamlessly transitioned to working from home, and we have enabled our Customer Care team members to work remotely while continuing to provide our customers and clients with the excellent service they deserve.”
Knauf has also stepped their communication up a notch. “We communicate with everyone via weekly updates, and have provided a wealth of resources for staff on our website. It is more important than ever to keep everyone informed and engaged.”
Gavin says care should be taken to not forget about the psycho-social impact of the virus.
“It is our duty as an employer to also look after the psychological health of our staff. It is a stressful time for all Australians, and we have to do what we can to reduce these risks at the workplace too.
“It is important for everyone to know that their employer is looking out for them.”
Knauf has partnered with AccessEAP to provide mental health and wellbeing support to employees and their families, and has also created dedicated online channels where staff can raise their concerns.
“We are commemorating this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work under very unusual circumstances, but these challenging times are a reminder why Workplace Health and Safety needs to always be a priority,” says Gavin.
“In the end it is about protecting life and the quality of life while we go about our daily tasks, and preparation is key. COVID-19 has come without warning, but because Knauf has always regarded the safety of our employees as our top priority, we were able to do what needed to be done in a very short time.”