Grant Nicholson on Covid-19 and the law
Thanks Peter, I'm looking forward to the discussion tomorrow.
I'm seeing clients dealing with rapidly changing requirements, staff (and business partners) feeling anxious, and the real risk of infection dropping as fewer and fewer new cases are reported (yay!). In these times, the solution for businesses is part survival, part reputational, and part health and safety (with a nod to wellness). Smart planning is obviously important, but so is remembering that an organisation's critical risks remain a big (and for many the biggest) concern, despite the pandemic.
To get some discussion going tomorrow, here are a couple of starter questions from me:
• Section 30 of the Health and Safety at Work Act requires elimination of risks rather than just minimisation when that is reasonably practicable. Should organisations really be returning to work at alert level 3?
• Section 23 of the Health and Safety at Work Act talks about the role of cost, and whether it is grossly disproportionate to risk, in deciding what is reasonably practicable. Are some organisations going to consider the cost of additional controls and let it affect what they do when work re-starts?
• Section 34 of the Health and Safety at Work Act requires consultation, cooperation, and coordination of activities between duty holders. How are organisations planning to interact with customers and onsite and supply chain business partners to keep people safe? For example, what can be done to allow contact tracing by the Ministry of Health if there are COVID-19 flare ups in the future?