This time last year Australia was facing horrendous bushfires and days of thick smoke. Yesterday we, in Melbourne, received over an inch of rainfall. For many Christmas was far less than joyous. At the same time a global incurable coronavirus was spreading.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) took a back seat in many ways but also came to the fore in others, depending on how exposed employers felt their businesses were and whether OHS professionals were sufficiently adaptable; depending on whether one saw public health that affects work as a workplace hazard, or let the public health people get on with their work. In all these circumstances there was a little bit of panic and varying levels of fear and anguish.
Australia is in an enviable COVID19 position now compared to those in the Northern Hemisphere Winter, so we get a Christmas. We get a window of mental sunshine where the only present many of us want is a hug from a relative who we have not been allowed to see for over half a year.
Personally, I had the opportunity to gain full-time employment on a construction site as one of a safety team. The job was an economic lifeline at a time when the family was wondering how we could endure a pandemic on only the savings we had. I know how lucky I was and I am also wary of allowing my personal experience skew my understanding of the pain and disruption that most other Australians have gone through.
My Nana Smith – Bessie – always used to qualify her plans with the statement of “All Being Well”. Bessie lived through World War 2 in the north of England and was always aware of the fragility of life. The 2020 Coronavirus is our reminder of that fragility and so the SafetyAtWorkBlog will return in 2021, all being well.