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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd


Focus Archive

Getting back to work: the new normal

June 2020

There is no escaping the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Until late in 2019, few of us had heard of it. Now because of it, many of us have had to put our lives on hold.

The coronavirus pandemic has closed down everything we felt impossible to live without.

The essential public health measures – including good hygiene, handwashing and safe distances between people continues as numbers of people are still becoming ill or very sadly dying each day.

Union representatives and safety & health managers have found themselves on a crash course on how to respond at work to the COVID-19 pandemic, negotiating protections at work. It is not just about workers falling ill. It is also about an unprecedented challenge to sick pay and employment rights.

An International Labour Organisation (ILO) initial assessment published on 18 March 2020 estimated about 25 million jobs could be lost as result of the pandemic. The ILO, a part of the UN, called for “urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures across three pillars: protecting workers in the workplace, stimulating the economy and employment, and supporting jobs and incomes.”

ILO director-general Guy Ryder commented: “This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labour market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people.” He added: “In 2008, the world presented a united front to address the consequences of the global financial crisis, and the worst was averted. We need that kind of leadership and resolve now.”

So much is happening and at great speed – it is necessary to ensure that everyone has access to validated and authoritative and fast changing sources of information.

In the last few week large amounts of authoritative and validated information has been issued by global organisations such as The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and knowledgeable organisations in various countries such as The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH), the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Public Health England and most countries own Governments. As new knowledge is gained this information is being updated – so be aware to seek the latest editions of documents. See the news section for more details of new publications.

No doubt many more plans and thoughts will be forthcoming and will be included in the ever increasing in size OSH UPDATE +FIRE collection