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In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, health and safety leadership is more important than ever. It’s no longer just about building a strong safety culture or modeling good behavior.
In this uncertain time, health and safety leadership could quite literally save workers’ lives.
Of course, knowing you need to lead and knowing how to go about it are two different things. We’re here to make it a little simpler. Here’s what you can do to be an effective health and safety leader as your organization continues to navigate these difficult times.
The most important thing to keep in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic is that the captain of the ship decides what course the ship will take.
The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty. Employees don’t know where the pandemic will go, and they certainly don’t know where their company will go in the weeks and months to come. They’re worried about having a job. They’re worried about being safe at their job. They’re worried about being able to come home to their families.
And while company leadership has just as much uncertainty as everyone else, employees turn to you for guidance. That means that health and safety leadership takes a new tenor in the pandemic: you’re your employees’ sense of stability, their guiding force in the uncertain days to come.
With that in mind, the first step to guiding your employees is to educate yourself.
We know that legislation and guidance from OSHA are changing all the time with regards to the pandemic. We know that it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong. But when your employees look to you for guidance, you can’t afford to fudge it.
Educate yourself on the current state of the pandemic. That means going well beyond the news. Go to reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Look for guidance on the current status of the pandemic in your area from your state and local government. Build your reopening plan around OSHA and CDC guidelines.
And if you see misinformation spreading about the pandemic, don’t hesitate. Correct it immediately. We’re talking about saving workers’ lives and livelihoods, and that means you can’t afford to sit back and hope someone else says something.
Finally, good health and safety leadership during the pandemic involves setting a good example every single day. Model the safe behaviors you expect employees to use and always hold yourself to the same rules.
If you expect employees to social distance (hint: you should), then you need to demonstrate social distancing and give employees tools for social distancing. If you expect everyone to wear a mask, wear a mask yourself. If you expect everyone to clean their workspace on a fixed schedule, do the same in your own space.
Remember, employees are looking to you. Be the example you want them to follow.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a greater strain on health and safety leadership than ever before. But now is the moment when your team needs to rise to the challenge. After all, it may be what saves your workers’ lives.
We’re here to help you through every step of this difficult time, with safety management software that enables you to make smart decisions for your workers’ well-being. Let us be your partner in keeping your workers safe and healthy. Get in touch today to start the conversation.
Since 2009, the team at EHS Insight have been on a mission to make the world a better place. Join us by subscribing to our Blog and receive updates on what’s new in the world of EHS, our software and other related topics.
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