4 min read

SAFETY NEWS

Coronavirus - we're in business

We know this thing is spreading quickly. We’ve seen bans put in place for gatherings of more than 100, social distancing being a thing, closing of international borders including cancellation of flights, panic buying, and significant impact on the economy.  So, what should you do?

Here at Safe Ag Systems we’re still open for business, and no doubt you are too. If you haven’t already, think about how this may impact in the workplace.

With the elderly most vulnerable to date, how are you going to manage the older generation who still work with you or just help out around the place?

Keep it simple

Undoubtably you’ll have already implemented the simple precautions to help stop the spread, including:

  • wash hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub

  • using a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, or use the bend of the elbow

  • avoid close contact with others - keep about 1.5m away (or more)

  • wipe down surfaces regularly with detergent or antibacterial wipes

A good Personal Hygiene Policy can help support these simple measures with your workforce. Agricultural workers often work alone and, in this situation, that is a good thing. Ramping up personal hygiene as above will help stop the spread.

Safe Ag Systems™ has policy templates to assist if you don’t already have this in place.

Be prepared

While not many Australians are infected yet, the numbers continue to climb daily.  

  • Plan what you will do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19 at your workplace

  • Isolate them from others, limit the number of people who have contact with the sick person

  • Contact your local health authority 

Communicate to avoid unnecessary anxiety

Consider how you will identify personnel who may be at risk, without inviting stigma or discrimination into your workplace.

Anyone showing symptoms should not attend the workplace. They should be encouraged to self-isolate until given the all clear to come back to work.

Unless you’re self-employed, it’s a bit hard for agricultural workers to work from home, so have a policy in place about how to manage work or leave requirements for those who are ill or self-isolating.

Stay connected

If someone is staying home, make sure you keep in touch via phone or social media to check on them. It’s going to be tough if they are self-isolating so staying in touch can boost their spirits.

Share this information sheet from the World Health Organisation on coping with stress during this outbreak – this has some practical and useful tips.

What's your contingency?

Develop a contingency and business continuity plan. Work still needs to occur even if you have people away, so plan how to manage this. Communicate your plan to your employees and contractors so everyone knows what they need to do, or not do.

Keep up to date

While we recommend you stay clear of sensational media articles, you need to keep up to date with that his happening in this rapidly changing landscape.

Check the facts about the current situation at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

We're in this together

Just remember that this is going to get worse before it gets better but having a simple plan in place that you review frequently, will allow you to get on with the job at hand and remember, we are all in this together.

Originally published 18 March, 2020.

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