Back to the Office – and Working Safely

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Back to the Office – and Working Safely

This week I experienced social distancing back in the real world here at the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME). I was excited to see what would be different and as much as I dreaded having to ‘get ready’ from what my usual ‘get ready’ has been the past couple of months, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was surprised I remembered the full journey back to work, as it had been so long since I’d done it. To my delight, there was lots of choice for parking spaces compared to usual.

Social Distancing COVID 19

Interestingly, once I was in the building, I felt safe – I could not fault the efforts to keep within the current guidelines at all. Every building worked on a one-way-in one-way-out basis, with signposts and roped dividers to keep walkways separated and help people to stay on their designated side. Reminders to wash your hands were at the entrance of every building and doors were locked open so that there was no need to open it yourself and touch anything unnecessarily.

I was there to participate in our IOSH Working Safely course along with 10 other delegates. The general vibe in the room was quite positive; everyone seemed relaxed and eager to learn. The course itself was really interesting and the trainer did a great job of making it fun. The whole class got involved in asking and answering questions and we had a different take on the usual group activities that would have happened in a pre-COVID world. Instead of getting into groups of say 5 and moving our seats next to one another, we had groups created from three of the nearest tables and we spoke across our seats to each other for the Hazard Spotting game where we had to identify all of the hazards in a set of cartoon images.

Absorbing the new reality

When people spoke about the current Corona virus situation and how they felt with it all, there were mixed feelings. Some said they felt everything was all over the top and another said they feel the desks should be a little further apart, but generally everyone seemed content with the new class layout and overall ‘new way’ things were being done. My personal opinion is that I felt a safe distance apart from everyone and not having to touch anything unnecessarily gave me a genuine peace of mind too. It was certainly an extra effort having to walk the long way round to get out of the building, compared to my usual route, but I liked that this was in place as it meant there was no temptation for anyone to break the rules and put others in harm’s way.

Overall, I would say my first social distancing learning day in the new COVID-19 environment went really well. I felt safe, completed my course and it was a good taster of what to expect going forward with post-COVID life. If anyone is interested in sitting an IOSH Working Safely course themselves with MKC Training, you can find out about upcoming courses right here.

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