COVID: How firms are ensuring employee safety

FROM remote working, to online meetings, to downscaling workforce and production capacity, firms around the world are learning to function within the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first COVID-19 wave, the most immediate response by many firms was to close office for a period of
time. However, realisation that the pandemic is here for the foreseeable future, has resulted in measures that cater for both the safety of employees and as an assurance of continued productivity and service provision. The Coca-Cola system (Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia), Absa and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Zambia share how the firms have responded to the need for balance during COVID-19 times, with employee sense of  security and safety topping the measures. According to Herbert Nuwamanya, Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia (CCBZ) general manager, the system has focused on keeping people safe while protecting the sustainability of the business. “We have implemented measures across all our operations to prioritise the safety and health of our employees. This includes providing support to ensure that all employees whose roles allow them to work from home are able to do so,” he said. The company has also ensured that medical support is available for those who fall ill. “A doctor is available around the clock for all employees for online consultations and we link our employees with mild to severe symptoms to proper home caregivers, ensuring they
have full access to the medical care they need,” he said. He said CCBZ also assists employees to obtain medication, nebulizers and oxygen, should they need it, and a task group follows up regularly on all employees who are in self isolation or fighting the virus at home. “To ensure the risk of cross infection is contained, we conduct onsite COVID-19 testing and track infections and close contacts. In addition, our operations’ stock and ability to procure cleaning and disinfecting agents such as hand soap and hand sanitiser has been secured,” he said. He said delivery trucks and other company vehicles are also equipped with hand sanitiser. A new innovation introduced at the company includes ‘runner roles’, where one admin person handles all the delivery documentation, while CLICK TO READ MORE

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