IOSH's Covid-19 series of webinars continued this week, this time bringing together more than 1,500 OSH professionals to consider how to look after the mental and physical health and wellbeing of remote workers.
Chaired by IOSH vice-president Dr David Gold and featuring presentations from Tony Bough, head of health, safety and wellbeing at Royal Sun Alliance, and Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH head of health and safety, the webinar highlighted the vital role of unity within the OSH profession, but also within businesses or SMEs that may not have a designated OSH adviser.
'In the global effort to protect people from the deadly virus [Covid-19], the safety and health profession is now faced with another challenge – how to protect the health and wellbeing of people now working remotely,' said David.
Tony set the scene (with an interesting backdrop) by discussing the various ways employees' mental health and wellbeing could be affected during the current situation. He also looked at the benefits of homeworking which was a refreshing change – such as no commuting, reducing cost and time – meaning workers get to spend more time with their loved ones.
The webinar enabled participants to learn about the physical and psychological reactions to working under uncertainty, how changes in technology and flexibility can help manage workers from home, and how to support your workers as your business transitions into business as usual.
Ruth provided an overview of IOSH's own approach to managing its homeworkers, including the challenges some staff have faced – such as reduced access to organisational information, limited face-to-face contact and job uncertainty – and how it has addressed them. Business continuity arrangements, daily monitoring, communication and response plans for vulnerable workers were also covered, and Ruth took viewers through some top tips to adapting to their new working environment.
The World Health Organization's Dr Ivan D. Ivanov made a special guest appearance to announce that the WHO has been asked to develop specific advice for key workers including security, food retail, water sanitation, banking systems etc, and requested that IOSH members complete this survey to enable its global network to have an input. But hurry – the survey closes this Friday, 17 April.
IOSH will host its third webinar – Current risks, challenges and practical measures in protecting health workers responding to Covid-19, tomorrow at 12.30 BST. Register to watch here.