supply chain safety
Five ways to make your supply chains safer and more resilient in 2021
Building supply chain resilience is a top priority for businesses in 2021. CHAS Managing Director, Ian McKinnon outlines some areas to review.
1. Check supply chains are COVID-secure
Coronavirus vaccination developments are good news, but they are not a quick fix; businesses will need to continue to manage the risk of coronavirus in 2021. This includes checking the issue is being taken seriously throughout their supply chains and looking for evidence that contractors are committed to COVID-secure practices.
The HSE is undertaking inspections to check organisations are COVID-secure and confirm any measures put in place are in line with latest guidance.
Where measures fall short businesses could see working practices stopped until they are made safe and those who fail to comply could face a Fee for Intervention, enforcement and even prosecution.
Anyone who regularly employs contractors can access a database of companies who have completed a COVID-secure Statement of Best Practice for no charge via CHAS’s free Client Portal.
2. Reinforce workplace health & safety practices
Coronavirus has been a major distraction in 2020 so it can be beneficial to reinforce expectations around health & safety, especially if you have been diversifying your supply chain.
Consider whether the profile of any areas of health & safety need to be raised within your organisation. Mental health is a particular concern, with latest HSE statistics showing stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of new and long-standing cases of work-related ill health in 2019-2020. Other areas that may benefit from renewed focus include falls from height, which continue to account for the highest number of fatalities in all sectors, and respiratory protection – latest statistics show 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are linked to previous exposure at work.
It’s also important to ensure all contractors understand their obligations around health & safety and have the correct management systems in place. The easiest way to do this is to choose a contractor who has been accredited by a third-party assessor. CHAS’s Client Portal provides access to a database of accredited contractors who meet a wide range of health & safety assessment criteria, including a growing number who have completed the new Common Assessment Standard, which is fast becoming the gold standard for pre-qualification in the construction industry.
3. Prioritise sustainability
Businesses are increasingly looking to work in partnership with their supply chains to meet evolving regulatory and customer expectations around sustainability. For example, in 2020 several companies made public commitments to accelerating their journey towards carbon neutrality and asked their supply chains to do the same. It is also becoming more commonplace for businesses of all sizes to track and reduce their carbon use.
For companies looking to collaborate with contractors and suppliers to cut carbon, CHAS Plant, can be used to keep track of all of the plant being used on site and can help meet regulatory obligations like non-road mobile machinery (NRMM).
In addition, companies are increasingly exploring how they can engage circular practices, which involve eliminating waste and finding ways to continually use resources. Circulytics, a free digital measuring tool from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, can help companies get up to speed with this issue and enable them to build a circular economy implementation plan.
4. Be prepared for Brexit deadlines
Anyone settled in the UK for more than five years as of exit day (31, January, 2020) is likely to be able to gain ‘settled status’ which will grant them the same rights as British citizens but they only have until 30 June 2021 to apply. After this date if they continue to work in the UK without having made the application they will be doing so illegally.
There are concerns that language barriers and a lack of awareness of the need to apply may prevent some workers from completing the application. A sudden exodus of staff could compromise health & safety and business continuity.
Employers can help by spreading awareness of the need to apply for ‘settled status’ and offering assistance where required – such as access to computers to complete the application. It is free to apply and a step-by-step application guide is available in 26 European languages. The application can be accessed here.
Employers may also wish to consider whether as an employer they are eligible to become a sponsor which could help them to recruit from the EU in the future.
5. Review your workforce credential management processes
Knowing the identity of workers before they are allowed on-site and being confident that they are qualified and have the right to work can help prevent illegal working, manage health & safety risks and ensure supply chain security.
Consider whether your current workforce credential management processes are comprehensive enough. Are you confident of the identity of everyone on your site, their right to work, and their competency? Systems such as CHAS People which streamline workforce credential management can reduce risk, save time and money and simplify the entire compliance process.
Robust workforce credential management processes can also help increase companies confidence in diversifying their supply chains.
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