Another and possibly potentially horrendous phase of the Covid-19 era. With no clear plans from government, most businesses are in danger of watching their hard work crumble under the effects of the pandemic, their efforts to stay in business through 2020 would have been in vein. More than ever businesses should find ways to stay afloat in the sinking ship. SA Economy is yet to face the worst – to try curb further effects, workplace-related preventative measures should by now be fully in place and strictly adhered to. To keep workforce and production alive, Occupational safety and health should be fully respected.
Employers, in consultation with workers and their representatives, should plan and implement measures to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 at the workplace. Social stigmas or discrimination at the workplace for any reason should be dealt with efficiently during these times, including allowing access to information. Occupational health services, mental health and psychosocial support may also go along way in aiding workers to keep a positive mind-set and energies up. Livelihoods are at stake.
Apart from effects experienced already, there is one factor that could have a chain effect and could be reoccurring. If COVID-19 is contracted through occupational exposure, it could be considered an occupational disease and, if so determined, should be reported and compensated according to the international labour standards and the national schemes for employment injury benefits. Administration departments will need to update their medical schemes, contracts and workplace compensation terms. For some businesses, that might mean an extra/increased contribution on workers paychecks.
All possible risks assessed, such as risks resulting from reduced maintenance of machines and facilities during closure periods. Looming liquidations threaten to undermine efforts to restore social and economic activity. The pandemic has broken most transportation links and distribution mechanisms between suppliers, production facilities and customers. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss sustainable production and consumption pattern in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. The present outbreak affects the global and national production systems and trade on a larger scale. The availability and production of many essential items are drastically reduced, and a huge mismatch between supply and demand is observed.
A flexible manufacturing system is required to fulfil the requirement needed to aid the economy into recovery. With yet another wave of infections rising, such disruptive events – material shortage and delivery delays are seen in the downstream supply chain, causing the ripple effect and resulting in reduced performance in terms of service level, revenue, and process productivity. Businesses, Partners and Clients will have to have a sympathetic and understanding approach to delays from their suppliers, well aware of what or how delays can affect business moving forward.
By Boitumelo Lesenya
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