As Freedom Day approaches, businesses will have to rely on their intuition to work out how to mitigate health and safety risks, an expert has stated
With lockdown finally lifting on 19th July, many businesses will be wondering how they are going to navigate the end of lockdown restrictions. With no legal obligation to wear a face covering or maintain social distancing, much of the responsibility for mitigating pandemic risk will fall to individuals, and businesses must choose how they themselves shall respond.
Malcolm Tullett, author of ‘Risk It’ and founder of Health and Safety Plus says that the pandemic is one of the most unpredictable and serious risks ever seen, and that the removal of lockdown restrictions will put businesses at a crossroads.
“I believe that common sense and individual choices are going to be key in how we mitigate risk from now on”, he says. “I will be encouraging my own clients to heed the new rules, and reduce social distancing and mask wearing rules if they and their staff want to”.
“However, if you feel more comfortable carrying on with the current level of protective measures, businesses shouldn’t have to alter what they’re doing, just as long as it remains a reasonable thing to do”.
Malcolm explains that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to health and safety when the risks are so uncertain, and that instead of looking for a prescriptive solution, business owners and managers should allow workers to respond in the way they see fit, whether that’s using plastic dividers or wearing a mask.
“The welfare of employees and others who might be affected should always be a business owner’s priority and working out the best way to preserve that in the absence of solid government guidance will require people to use their intuition instead”, he says.
“The ‘duty of care’ in health and safety should not merely be interpreted as a legal obligation, but something to be carried out intentionally and with employees’ best interests at heart”.
Often, people have different perspectives on how far preventative measures need to go, but in order to care for every individual, Malcolm recommends that business owners facilitate compromise and try to find a middle ground that addresses most people’s concerns.
“If businesses believe there is little risk in getting rid of social distancing and masks, then they should have the freedom to act on their convictions. However, if they want to continue with protections in order to mitigate what they perceive to be a risk, then it is within their rights to do so”, says Malcolm. “Individual common sense is going to rule the way moving forward”.