COVID-19: Planning for the unpredictable

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When it comes to managing unusual, unanticipated and unplanned events, such as the potential spread of COVID-19, or environmental disasters such as floods or wildfires, the key is planning.

But how do you plan for an unanticipated event? If you’re experienced in health and safety you already have a tool that you are an expert at using to plan for routine tasks such as manual handling or work at height, identifying emergency scenarios and planning for those – a risk assessment.

While we can’t predict whether COVID-19 will burn itself out, or turn into a pandemic, we can use a risk assessment process to consider what the consequences would be to our organizations of widespread illnesses.

Start by identifying essential resources, and considering what would happen if it were lost or reduced. You don’t need to be able to predict precisely what the cause of the loss could be to work through the consequences. We’ll look here at some of the top resources to assess the risk, and some mitigation you might need to put in place. The planning approach provided here relate to health, safety & business continuity can be used to assist develop your pacific organizational planning for the anticipated 




If people are ill, or have to ‘self-isolate’, if the schools are closed and they have to look after their children, if the roads are closed or the transport means are restricted or stopped, the impact on the organization is the same – insufficient people to carry out work safely. Consider critical roles such as:

  • Service / production crew
  • HSE & Emergency management staff
  • Supervisors, security and maintenance staff
  • Customer handling staff. 


  • Identify critical roles in the organization. Understand your minimum and critical safe staffing levels.
  • Make arrangements for remote working where possible.
  • Train people to be multi-skilled, to provide flexibility in covering critical roles with the people available. For example, cross-training operational and maintenance staff.
  • When planning Emergency provision such as first-aiders & fire wardens, consider the impact of absences, and decide priorities & arrangement in advance. 




Insufficient supplies to work safely and to ensure the continuity of the business. If your suppliers are suffering from a labor shortage, or logistics issues, how many days of critical supplies do you have? Consider what additional supplies you might need in an emergency, critical raw materials for production & service, including soap, tissues, cleaning materials, sanitizers and additional collections of waste. 


Identify critical supplies to ensure health & safety and continuity of the business and determine appropriate inventory levels.  Apart from this, think too about supply & service contracts, what happens if the fire alarms or emergency lighting stops working? What if the fire suppression or gays shut off systems fails? If your service contractors can’t get to you to do an emergency repair, what back up do you have? What happens if your critical materials supplier stock runs out? What is your contingency plan, who is your alternative suppliers?




Insufficient water resulting in hygiene concerns, lack of power for safety systems and safe working conditions. Continuity of business effected by critical utility failures.


Some organizations can’t operate without water and electricity or gas, while others can carry on - for a while. Find out how many hours of water is stored in your water tanks, and what back up power there is. Identifying critical roles in advance will speed decision-making. If you know there is only enough water for 100 toilet flushes, and there are 100 people in the building, sending 90 home so that the critical 10 people can work for longer will be an easier decision to make.




Buildings become unusable because of conditions (eg: need to isolate due to infections, floor, storm, and riot). This could also be a consequence of a lack of people to maintain and manage a building.  


Can essential functions be moved to alternative facilities? In advance agree:

  • Which functions are essential?
  • Where people will go?
  • How they will find out where to go?
  • Which facilities can support service, production & product / service deliveries?


As the world is coming together to fight against covid19 coronavirus, workforce & public safety are becoming key concern for any organization, importance of implementing and following comprehensive control measure with adherence to latest QHSE managements system (IMS) standards and regulations is even more crucial. Get in touch with us at Business DNA to know how iAssure, our state of the art software solution can help you manage all these requirements while compliance with local, federal and international regulations and guidelines is achieved.

iAssure is a Quality, health, safety, environment & food safety management system. With iAssure all incidents are preventable via its training, monitoring, documenting and proactive attitude. iAssure is a 100% compliance system with governmental rules and regulations such as (Abu Dhabi Public Health center (OSHAD) ADAFSA, DOH, TCA, IDB, AD Municipality, Zonescorp, DOT - etc).

iAssure Features include:

  • Integrated food safety management system (FSMS).
  • 100% ISO Compatible, 360 Degree management tool.
  • Live Monitor to all Health & Safety activities (HSMS).
  • Integrated Environmental Management and Smart QHSE Partner with e-Waste Management Tool (EMS).
  • QHSE End to End Mobility Solution.
  • QHSE Business Intelligence Applications (BIA).
  • Full Documentation eco-management system.

Feel free to contact us directly at +971 4 422 7725 or email us at Visit our iAssure page /our-portfolio/erp-solutions/qhse-management.aspx to request a free demo or for a free brochure. Safety is our Priority and iAssure is definitely the Eye that never sleeps!

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