Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has received a 2020 SafeWork NSW Award for ‘Outstanding work, health and safety response to the changed working environment due to COVID-19’.
Dale Cleaver, CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT said the organisation demonstrated extraordinary agility to ensure continuity of service for clients, including the rapid implementation of innovative technology to deliver telepractice.
“Clients are always at the heart of everything we do, the majority of which are over the age of 65 – a vulnerable category. They also face challenges relating to not being able to appropriately social distance due to a lack of visual cues and accessibility. We couldn’t take the risk of continuing face-to-face services for clients or workers. We suspended them very quickly in comparison to many other businesses,” he said.
The organisation enabled all staff to work remotely within three days in early March, established online wellness programs and weekly all-staff meetings, and implemented protocols to protect workers, volunteer Puppy Raisers and dogs. Even future Guide Dogs received puppy training sessions via online resources like Zoom.