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Handling emergency situations has become more critical, because today we have an additional threat of Corona Virus

We spoke to Lawrence Adoni, Director, NIST Institute to understand the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Safety and health of employees, how COVID-19 has affected the preparedness of safety officers, new safety trainings they need to imbibe how they would you rate Indian OSH preparedness at workplaces in response to the pandemic and new courses they have introduced to help safety and health officers.

Interviewed by Adeesh Sharma

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on Safety and health of employees?

There has been a devastating effect on the employees and workers around the World. If we look into the ILO statistics and their news reports, it states that, there was a decline in working hours globally, which means that 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy – that is nearly half of the global workforce – stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed.

We all were part of it. There has been a huge impact on employees and Organizations due to a reduced opportunities, which could potentially affect the safety and health of employees. This has led to sudden blockage in the income and the loss of jobs has affected a lot of employees, and at that point of time, anything more than survival is really a luxury.

How has COVID-19 affected the preparedness of safety officers? What new safety trainings they need to imbibe?

Handling emergency situations has become more critical, because today we have an additional threat of Corona Virus. Every emergency situation requires actions on ground and at the same time the emergency personnel needs to ensure the personal hygiene also, which is actually not practically possible. The situation requires Safety department to develop more procedures for dealing with COVID-19 also, while handling the emergency response. Not only Safety Officers, all the personnel should prevent the spread of the disease by training and practicing Hygiene, while execution of their routine and non-routine job; irrespective of personal or official work.

So far as the Safety trainings are concerned, more and more hygiene practices, housekeeping, cleaning and sanitizing of the surrounding areas, the devices and equipment being used, Use of PPEs, social distancing etc. should be a priority. Also cascading the information down the line through various campaigns, articles, trainings, documents and policies are inevitable.

How would you rate Indian OSH preparedness at workplaces in response to the pandemic?

This sudden pandemic was a new thing for the entire world and handling such kind of disaster was a real challenge on the grounds. There is no black & white guidelines are available. But our Central and State governments ensured that all strategies and action plans are put in place to prevent the spread of disease. Organisation has to swiftly respond by preparing & Training their employees adhering to guidelines set by the governments. In fact, support has been extended beyond OSH preparedness through financial assistance, ensuring this doesn’t disrupt employment.

What new courses have you introduced to help safety and health officers?

We have introduced COVID-19 Safety Training course which revolves around a variety of topics such as Hand Hygiene Respiratory Hygiene, Identification and Isolation of Suspected Cases, Post-Covid Control Measures, General Guidance for All Workers and Employers, Environmental Cleaning And Decontamination. We believe with this course we will be able to provide our best to improve safety knowledge to our prestigious clients for tackling the COVID-19.

Indeed, we have gone one step ahead of delivering most of our courses virtually keeping quality intact.


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