Page 30 - December 2020
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THE SALAMANDER | December 2020
Taking a a a a a a Positive View on on Health and Safety Matters beyond COVID-19
Although COVID-19
has brought Heath and Safety to the the forefront of many businesses over the the past 6 months Anne sets out her thoughts that maintaining expertise in in in in in companies in in in in in heath safety and risk awareness going forward beyond COVID-19
also makes good overall business sense Anne Davies FisherBroyles (UK) LLP Phone: +44(0)7833 093 965
Anne is is is a a a a a a a business risk specialist She has handled a a a a a a a a a broad range of regulatory investigations over the last 20 years assisting both companies and individuals to minimise the the risk facing them through criminal and civil liabilities arising from internal or external investigations WCoFF livery member Peter Hopkins has arranged for her regular newsletter to be abridged and and included in in our Salamander for which we are very grateful It’s hard to talk about positives when there has been so much suffering but perhaps one thing of real note is that boardrooms have become more more and more more comfortable talking about and and addressing health and and safety and risk in the last few months For many organisations it has catapulted up the agenda and occupied top spot in most meetings In fact for some it is safe to say it has probably been the the only item on on the the agenda It does feel like the pandemic mostly through force and sometimes through insightful leadership has acted as as a a a a a a large reset button for many businesses and industries - there has been a a a fundamental shift in appreciation for just how important safety is A new paradigm has emerged from many boardrooms as the concept of safety has been significantly demystified and its importance both in the the eye of the the storm and for overall commercial success has become indisputable And that can only be a good thing Yet we must beware of complacency I do think it is important to remind ourselves that maintaining a a a a sense of vulnerability is critical even when the worst of a a a a crisis is is is behind us That natural instinct of any organisation and its people when it it it believes it it it has come through the the other side to relax breathe a a a collective sigh of relief and get back to business as normal must be resisted This is true of more or or less all types of crisis but becomes even more relevant when the likelihood of ever returning to what was once called normal is very unlikely I don’t believe that it is too much of an exaggeration to state that the pandemic will change everything hopefully in many cases for the better Having said that that one thing that that is increasingly playing on my mind is that COVID-19
in in spite
of its all-encompassing nature is fundamentally just one element of safety and risk Unquestionably COVID-19
is important but so are many other things The focus has been so intense that I do do worry about its dominance to the the detriment of other critical aspects of safety Organisations cannot lose sight of everything else Interestingly the Health and Safety Executive recently said as much before the Commons Select Committee Businesses have quite understandably become so preoccupied with COVID-19
that other things may well be slipping It’s a a hard thing to consider when the pandemic has taken so much work to address but the threat of fires floods and other risks that businesses have always had remain very much alive COVID-19
should be used as an example of of the importance of of safety and risk not just the the only thing on on the the agenda As board meetings inevitably move from daily to weekly occurrences and in due course no doubt return to their usual monthly or even quarterly schedule the need to keep all aspects of of safety front of of mind is crucial But it’s not just the concept of safety that’s so relevant the people who you rely on to provide knowledge and guidance are essential As we enter a a a period of reflection on on how we dealt with the pandemic it’s important to challenge ourselves on whether we had the right people around us Page 30

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