According to recent information published by the Health and Safety Authority, there are no exemptions or relaxations of the legislative requirements in respect of the Safety Health and Welfare Act 2005. This includes all statutory provisions for the workplace, fire, electrical, mechanical, lifting equipment and all workplace place equipment etc. However the HSA does recongise the current situation due to COVID-19 and are keeping the matter under review. The HSA has been tasked to inspect workplaces to ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations. As I have mentioned in previous posts, if the HSA visits a site or premises, they may look for compliance in all areas under the Safety Health and Welfare Act. While businesses may have been carrying out their statutory obligations, i.e. testing and inspecting, do they have the paperwork, the certificates, the reports to prove it.
Another consideration for business owners and managers – are the general public more aware of compliance in general when they enter a premise since COVID-19. Is there a growing concern of their safety in general. How big a part does trust play? In a recent Forbes article (May 8, 2020) Larry Light describes our new normal around trust and safety, “When you design a workplace, it’s no longer going to be like ‘Hey, is it cool and fun for my people?’ A major criterion is going to be: ‘Is this place safe?” Safe to drive, safe to eat, safe to use, safe to work, safe to meet, safe for me, safe for my family? The big, compelling current safety concern: is it hygienically safe? “Seeing is believing,” is a common cliché. But what if I am unable to see what you say is true? Trust will be the new differentiating, competitive brand advantage. Without trust, hygienically safe is nothing but a phrase. Truth is a fact. Trust is a feeling. If I feel uncomfortable with the brand, the truth of hygienically safe is weakened or eliminated. The general public’s perception of safety is heightened. Actions speak louder than words. A negative social media post whether a fact or a feeling is catastrophic.