Worldwide, since the turn of the century, we had 3 significant pandemics: Sars, Mers & H1N1. When we look at South Korea, with utmost certainty they have learned the lessons of the earlier pandemics. The situation is different for Europe and the USA, were just up to the COVID – 19 pandemic, we were fortunate to escape the worst effects of the pandemics. It is time now to realize that we live in an age of coronavirus and prepare for the future and future pandemic threats.
All sectors have been rapidly changing and adjusting practices over the recent weeks in hopes of avoiding the spread of the Coronavirus and to ensure full compliance with social distancing, as well as trying to manage ‘’ home working’’ and having a contingency plan on when/if an employee tests positive for COVID – 19.
For OSH experts, such as professionals in the sector or consultants, its vital to consider if the pandemic will return as a second spike, will pass quickly, or will have another visit next winter, as many studies (University of Basel or Stockholm) suggest.
Health experts are stressing, still, the importance of social distancing. This means keeping 2 meters apart as much as possible, but particularly if in close contact for 15 minutes or more. Close contact does not mean just direct contact. Two hours in an enclosed space such as a room can be also considered close contact, thus office work will be hard to police and manage. Experts are directing employers to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre’s website (www.hpsc.ie) for guidance in this regard.
Will the above be a norm in the future? Will remote working & home working a subsequent consequence of the pandemic? The future challenge is to prepare for future pandemics and a notable rise in home working.
Let me know your thoughts.