LEADERS – OBSERVE, ENGAGE, LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE
2020 has been an unusual year for many. A common theme is emerging across many different businesses whereby workers seem more fatigued than usual. This has the potential to increase the risk of unsafe conditions or practices being present in our worksites.
As leaders, we have the ability to influence how the work is conducted. We need to understand what can go wrong, how could it happen, what the consequences might be, so we can take the necessary steps to ensure we are managing all our workplace risks as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).
COVID has meant many changes to our normal holiday process. Likely people have taken time off, but the way they have taken their leisure time may have changed. Therefore we need to remain aware of the possible increased social and work pressures and the potential for associated increases in fatigue levels amongst our staff and others we work closely with.
Work programmes have been potentially compressed across the year meaning a pressure (or perceived pressure) to deliver to previous schedules.
Other workers are concerned around the lingering impacts of COVID and what that might mean going forward from a home and work perspective.
The periods immediately before and after the Christmas break traditionally see an increase in workplace events in many industries. This might be due to the mind starting to think about taking a break, stress factors such as financial or family issues emerging or simply taking the time to switch back into work mode.
What can we do?
As leaders, we can ensure we are actively looking for those conditions that can quickly escalate and led to an unwanted event. While this is part of our normal job, this time of year we should pay extra attention to ensuring our workplaces and workers are still “switched on” and looking out for some of those underlying conditions that might distract our people from working safely.
• Talk to your team on how they are feeling to gauge the situation, what are the risks and as a team what they can do (i.e. look out for each other, consult with management, consider replanning etc.)
• Check in with individuals regularly
• Monitor your workers by conducting safe work observations regularly
The Trigger Action Response Plan (TARP) has been designed to help identify what those “at-risk” conditions might be and provide some guidance regarding required actions.