COVID-19: One Year Later
We’ve all been doing the COVID-19 dance for a year now and wow how quickly our world changed! Despite all we’ve lost, all we have suffered and all we have sacrificed, we have also experienced some remarkable change, resilience and innovation. We have come together, as a nation and as a society to fight a common, albeit somewhat invisible, foe.
Virtually, every business sector has felt the impact of the pandemic in one way or another.
- Offices shut their doors immediately and then scrambled to figure out how to operate their business with staff working from home.
- Restaurants and fast food chains had to adapt from relying on dining in to take-out and delivery.
- Grocery stores and retail outlets shifted to on-line ordering, home delivery and curbside pick-up.
- Essential services that remained open had to modify their operations with the implementation of PPE, social distancing, plexiglass partitions and restrictions on who and how many could enter their establishments.
- Natural resources, construction and manufacturing sectors had to contend with supply chain interruptions, employee quarantines, infection outbreaks and more.
- Sports and Entertainment industries faced complete shut downs and then came up with creative ways to reach audiences.
- Information Technology was pushed to expand services and develop or redesign methods to improve connections and communications.
Through the Made In Canada Project, from coast to coast to coast, more than 6,500 businesses and manufacturers offered their assistance by:
- Retooling their facilities
- Increasing their production capacity
- Collecting, donating, and distributing existing supplies and equipment
- Combining resources to manufacture needed supplies more quickly
- Creating entirely new business lines
- Designing innovative products to address new protocols
Even in the face of the 3rd wave of infections and the identification of numerous variants of concern, this pandemic will eventually end. In the meantime, as the economy carefully and cautiously attempts to open up, organizations will continue to modify and adjust the way they operate and when the pandemic is over our world will never be the same – there is no going back.
So what have we learned?
We’ve learned that:
- No matter how well we think we are prepared, you never know exactly what is coming next.
- We can think outside the box.
- We can respond, react and adapt quickly if we need to.
- We are innovative, creative and efficient when addressing emergency situations.
- We can work together to problem solve and to help each other.
- Simple things like the 3 “W’s” – Washing your hands, Wearing masks and Watching your distance – can be the best prevention against the spread of disease.
There is a lot to be proud of in the way we have faced this worldwide crisis and in many ways we may be better on the other side but with every operational change, modification or alteration that a business or service has to make comes an increased risk of accident, incident, injury and/or illness. Whether we are doing less, doing more, doing it differently, doing it the same but under different conditions or doing something completely new, approaching every work task with a safety first mentality is the most effective way of avoiding costly workers’ compensation claims.
As such, Workplace Health & Safety Management systems along with health and safety programs, protocols, procedures and manuals need to be continually updated to stay current with ever changing work environments. This is especially true when those changes come as fast and furious, as has been the case with COVID-19.
While safety refreshers are always a good idea, they may be even more important now than ever. Workplace accidents are costly and workplace safety may be the most valuable investment employers can make as we continue to navigate our way out of this pandemic.
It is not just the health and safety of the workforce that’s at stake, it is the financial well-being of the economy. It would be a shame to see businesses survive the pandemic only to succumb to the cost of increased WCB premiums.
As always, we are available to answer your questions and/or address your concerns to the best of our ability. You can reach us directly at BCL.Calgary@bclconsulting.ca, BCL.Edmonton@bclconsulting.ca, by phone at 1-844-377-9545 or you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.