At first glance, industries as diverse as mining, agriculture, retail and healthcare may not appear to have a lot in common. But the one thing workers in all these industries share – in fact, one thing workers in every industry share – is the desire to go home safely after every shift. And employers have an obligation to protect their staff and minimise the risk of serious injury or worse.
Risk profiles vary depending on the industry, but an underlying commitment to health and safety should be common across all sectors. These days, it’s not enough for workplaces to mouth mantras about protecting their employees, they must actively demonstrate that commitment. Fostering a safe environment should be central to all organisations culture; it is about learning from near misses and encouraging continuous improvement and learning.
Heatleys has been partnering with businesses across many industries for over thirty years to ensure their workers go home safely every night. We have a proven track record of providing safety products to the most dangerous sectors, like construction, forestry and transport and logistics. Working in high-risk environments means that we are attuned to potential hazards; identifying risks, reviewing them and enacting strategies to ensure they don’t become safety incidents is at the core of what we do. And it’s a philosophy that we put into practices, regardless of the industry.
New risks, new approach
In the last twelve months, businesses have had to change the way they think about health, safety and risk. Activities and behaviours that were once normal – like working closely alongside colleagues in small, cramped offices or hot-desking – are now sites of potential infection.
Early in the pandemic, Heatleys realised that a ‘business-as-normal’ approach to servicing our customers would no longer work. We examined and evaluated all aspects of our operation to ensure our workers and yours remained safe.
In many instances, we were able to implement strategies and practices that ensured social distancing. Some of that infrastructure already existed, but we quickly expanded our offering. For example, customers could order products through Heatleys website and have it delivered direct to their worksite or arrange Click & Collect. Meanwhile, all our branches implemented safety plans that ensured social distancing and protected those working and shopping there.
We were also quick to recognise that – with the heightened risk of Covid-19 being spread via droplet and aerosol transmission – there would be an increased demand for products like surgical masks and respirator masks. We worked closely with our suppliers to make sure we had enough stock to service our customers. Who could’ve imagined, even a few years ago, that these would become the most common and important piece of PPE in the world!
Our team of specialists also worked with customers to devise innovative solutions that kept workers safe on site. For example, some operations installed vending machines that distributed consumables, which reduced the number of human interactions, while also ensuring PPE never ran out.
Safety is about more than products – it’s a mindset. And it’s at the heart of Heatleys’ philosophy. We hope that we can impart a little bit of this to all our customers, whatever industry you’re in.