General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic

How to better understand the ISO/PAS 45005 standard

General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic
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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international standard-setting body, recently released a “best practices” guide built on the experiences of employers and workers worldwide who adapted to Covid-19 into a management standard called ISO/PAS 45005.

Part of this effort was asking basic questions before acting on changing workplace locations and practices such as:

Can you effectively perform your role from home? Is your home situation suitable for home working? Do you want to return to a physical workplace? And are you confident that you can travel safely to and from a physical workplace without significant exposure to COVID-19?

“While this may seem elemental, many organizations skipped the step of consulting with workers before creating changes in work practices and environments, which is often not in the best interests of worker or employer,” says business improve and standards company BSI Group.

Going further, says BSI Group, the standard advises organizations to then address potential risks vs. benefits of changes such as understanding the domestic circumstances of the worker which may put that worker or their family at higher risk of infection if more time is spent at home, particularly if their home working environment is not a safe one.

The standard also addresses issues such as physical space limitations of home working, access to a secured internet connection, access to the proper devices (computers, tablets) and their security, ergonomics, psychosocial factors, etc.

“It even addresses not often cited situations such as when an employee is forced to work from another location that neither they nor the employer control, such as working from someone else’s home,” says BSI Group.

To better understand the standard, BSI Group has released a free whitepaper.

“The standard covers a wide spectrum of the COVID-19 work change experience including planning and assessment of risks, assessment of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, managing illness in a physical workplace, testing, contact tracing and quarantine, psychological health and well-being, use of personal protective equipment, masks and face coverings, and use of common areas,” says BSI Group.

In addition, it also addresses such areas as working with the public, work-related, deliveries (including limiting contact when receiving or unloading), performance evaluation (including using a systematic approach to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and results of the practices) and the need for management review and incident reporting as well as reporting to external interested parties.

The whitepaper also helps navigate the standard’s two annexes covering protective security considerations and accessibility considerations as well as a reference section.

Download the free whitepaper now to learn about the ISO and better keep your workers safe from COVID-19.