As the current COVID-19 pandemic grips ever tighter it seems a while ago since families here in Victoria, Australia were able to walk together and count rainbows and teddy bears displayed in windows. Despite all of the information and guidance made available it seems that the poor decisions and actions made by the few would dictate what the masses would be allowed to do. Sound familiar? A few bad apples.
As a keen student of whatever Health and Safety is or purports to be, it is timely to reflect on where we are and how we got here. We are all in this together, right but are we currently being overwhelmed?
When disaster of any shape and size occurs inevitably there is an initial then ongoing response, a review and then implementation of learnings. This can be referred to as continual or continuous improvement. Important questions are already being asked and reviews undertaken to identify failings such as security breaches at areas of quarantine such as hotels. Sound familiar? Inadequate training, lack of personal protective equipment, rules being broken.
It could be argued that with any form of pandemic it was to be a case of not if but when. Sound familiar?
1918 - Spanish flu
1957 - Asian flu
1981 Human Immunodeficiency Virus /Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
2003 - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
2019 - COVID-19
When, not if
Occupational Health and Hygiene is the process of anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control of exposure to occupational hygiene hazards. It uses a combination of science, engineering and professional judgement in the process. In the current pandemic crisis, science is at the forefront like never before, analysing numbers, putting out information and hopefully discovering the all important vaccine. But against the body of scientific knowledge we also hear the voice of the dissenters. Sound familiar? Karen from Facebook thinks masks impact on her civil rights.
So where is this heading? More control, more restrictions, more information being interpreted and misinterpreted? Further restrictions that mean that Victorians are not allowed to leave their beds? Farcical of course but then who would have predicted that toilet rolls would have been the first item cleared from supermarkets shelving as soon as the bogey man shouted "Boo"?
As human beings we crave certainty and in uncertain times we feel more vulnerable. As human beings we are social beings and isolation, online contact and social distancing for a length of time are difficult to come to terms with. It is just not in our nature.
We are in this together - to learn, to behave, to be kind.
We require great resilience and understanding to survive and then rebuild.
We need to develop wisdom the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement to make good decisions in our lives.
Stay safe and healthy.