October is National Safe Work Month – a time to commit to improving safety and health in the workplace.
This year’s theme, Work Health and Safety through COVID-19, acknowledges and reflects the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, employers and workers.
Labourpower National HR Manager Brooke Horbury reflects on the challenges brought about by the pandemic and provides an insight into the initiatives put in place at Labourpower.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE KEY CHALLENGES
FACING LABOURPOWER AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC?
COVID-19 brings unprecedented challenges for everyone and Labourpower is learning and adapting every day. Our first step was to set up a COVID Response team within our HR department, establishing COVID safe protocols in accordance with Federal, State and Territory guidelines, to ensure the health and safety of:
- Casual staff
- Internal staff, and the
- Wider community to slow the spread of infection
HOW ARE YOU HELPING CLIENTS TO MITIGATE RISK?
Many of our clients across the country continue to provide essential services and require people to show up to work during the pandemic.
Labourpower helps clients navigate the challenges of operating in a COVID world. Businesses must prioritise staff safety and wellbeing if they are to be sustainable. We work closely with our clients to ensure stringent protocols that help:
- Identify risks
- Minimise spread
- Support any initiatives/processes they have implemented on-site
Labourpower’s National COVID-19 Safety Plan allows us to be agile and responsive, with employee wellbeing and safety at the centre of everything we do.
HOW ARE YOU SAFELY MANAGING SUSPECTED
OR CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19?
As soon as we had our first positive case in the workforce, we knew exactly how to manage the situation to keep our workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Most importantly, it was reassuring to know that our National COVID-19 Safety plan is effective and works.
Our flexible approach has seen us continually improve and strengthen our processes to create positive outcomes for our staff and clients.
The Labourpower COVID-19 Management team speaks to any employee or client with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. They assess each report on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to manage and mitigate any risk.
HOW MANY STAFF MEMBERS HAVE RETURNED TO WORK OVER THIS PERIOD?
As part of our COVID-19 management plan, Labourpower HR requires staff to self-isolate from work if they or anyone in their household:
- Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Has had contact with a suspected or confirmed case, or
- Has tested positive
Once an employee receives a negative COVID-19 result, we ask them a series of questions to ensure they are fit and well for work.
As soon as we identify that there is no risk for them to return to work, the staff member can go back on the roster.
To date, 1753 employees have been cleared to return to work by the Labourpower COVID-19 Management team.
HOW IMPORTANT IS COMMUNICATION AT THIS TIME?
Certainly communication is key to helping our staff and clients navigate the impacts of COVID-19. For example, keeping our workers up-to-date with:
- Regular text messages,
- Toolbox talks and
- Other communications
As well as regular check-ins with people in isolation is important.
Similarly, we also make regular communication with our clients a priority so that they know that we are standing by them. They have confidence that we are able to continue to deliver a service that supports their business and its needs in a way that ensures the health safety of all employees.
ARE THERE ANY POSITIVE OUTCOMES BROUGHT ON BY THE PANDEMIC?
Every member of our team has been remarkable. We have seen incredible resilience as people:
- Continue to show up to work
- Cope with the unpredictable, and
- Maintain a focus on providing quality outcomes for businesses across all industries
I am proud to be part of a team that has shown such a firm commitment and proactive approach to tackling the challenges of COVID-19. Through openness and transparency we are helping to create a safe work environment for individuals and each client’s business.
NATIONAL SAFE WORK MONTH 2020
Labourpower is proud to join National Safe Work Month as part of our commitment to building safe and healthy workplaces for all Australians.