Seventy-five years ago today, hostilities across Europe formally came to an end, although the Second World War officially wouldn't end until several months later.
Sir Winston Churchill spoke to a war-weary nation. "We may allow ourselves", he said, "a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead."
His words have gone down in history, but as we commemorate the end of hostilities today as we hold stay at home street parties, those words are just as relevant now as we continue through the biggest health and safety crisis since that day.
As we come to an end of the sixth week of official lockdown, celebrate our great nation's victory from the past, but remember that the coming months and years are going to be just as hard. Millions unemployed, businesses struggling to reopen safely, many suffering through bereavement and illness, psychological traumas taking hold, and a new normal overtaking our lives.
Life will be difficult, but the general community spirit that showed itself through the Second World War, and which has become more evident again in recent weeks will get us through this time of hardship. Just as we came out of war as a stronger nation, we will do so again.
KSH Safety Services will play its part in this recovery. For clients old and new, I will be on hand to provide the support and help for which I am known. This includes:
assisting with risk assessments, that include COVID-19 as a risk;
designing toolbox talks on the importance of social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, etc.;
providing health and safety support as before, either on site or if you wish remotely;
delivering health and safety training via Zoom, or (when restrictions are eased) in a socially distant classroom;
our 95 e-learning courses, which are available to everyone, including those wanting to boost their CV.
Remember, when you are reopening businesses or production lines, shops or offices, you must:
do a full risk assessment on the risks from infection, covering social distancing, touch points, additional cleaning regimes, training via tool box talks, visitors, others in your premises, regular audits to ensure it is working, signage, cleaning stations, PPE, driving for work. Remember what you put in place should not hinder other rules, such as fire evacuation.
write an infectious disease policy, and share it with staff, suppliers, customers.
ensure all equipment is safe to operate. Sadly, a chemical company in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state, India which did not shut down a factory safely, and when they reopened yesterday, a deadly gas escaped into the community, killing many and seriously injuring many more. This is a good reminder to double check all processes, including maintenance, before restarting.
review all the above regularly.
follow industry guidance, for example construction.
By ensuring we do this correctly, we can reduce the risk of having a serious second peak on the COVID-19 curve. It must be strictly followed.
KSH Safety Services has put together a raft of useful information and links on its website to help you get it right. If in doubt, ask.
The "toils and efforts that lie ahead" are achievable. It will be a new way of working, but as a nation of businesses, we can do this and we will succeed.
Good luck everyone, and above all, stay safe.