Last updated 5 March 2021
This guide is to help you stay safe at work during the COVID-19 pandemic
First things first
Under WHS law, all employers or businesses are required to manage the risk of COVID-19 to workers and others in the work environment.
Businesses and workers must:
- Comply with national and state public health directions
- Promote the simple but effective physical distancing and hygiene measures
- Raise any concerns about the risk of contracting COVID-19 immediately with the employer and work with them to identify solutions. Learn more
- Monitor the extent of COVID-19 in your community and share any updates and advice from state and federal authorities regularly with workers.
Assess the risk
All workplaces must assess the risk (in consultation with workers) and look for ways to minimise the risk. These may include:
- assessing work activities that involve close personal contact (less than 1.5m)
- implementing controls to reduce direct contact with workers and customers, including:
- physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres where reasonably practicable
- barriers and/or modifying workplace layouts to create adequate space at counters, between workstations, seated areas etc.
- modify shifts, hours and rosters to reduce peak periods. For example, stagger start and finish times, days of the week from home/office.
- actively support flexible work arrangements, including working from home or other locations.
- Implementing controls to reduce environmental exposure, including:
- inspecting and reviewing air conditioning and ventilation systems
- cleaning and disinfection of high traffic areas and shared surfaces
- provide cleaning products and instruction for cleaning workspaces
- provide instruction and amenities for personal hygiene and infection control.
SafeWork NSW considers vaccination a high order risk control measure. When a COVID-19 vaccine is generally available, businesses may require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 if reasonably practicable to do so. A variety of factors such as eligibility for the vaccine, personal health, medical history, type of work and alternative control measures should be considered, along with the risk of exposure.
Once a vaccine is available to protect against COVID-19 it is likely to be recommended for all those performing tasks in, or intending to perform tasks in, a situation where there is a high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, unless there is a medical contraindication.
Safe Work Australia has published COVID-19 vaccination guidance for employers, small business and workers
This information is also available on nsw.gov.au.
Getting back to work in a COVID safe way
For more SafeWork information on COVID-19 go to nsw.gov.au. There's information on:
Businesses and employers
- How to make your business COVID safe
- Working from home guidance for employers
- Occupational violence and customer aggression
- PPE suppliers list
- Fee and licence relief
- Financial assistance for business and employers
- What you can and can't do
- When to wear a face mask
- Financial help for individuals and households
- Stay safe and healthy
- Step-by-step guides
Other Translated resources
Supply of fake face masks
The COVID- 19 pandemic has resulted in fake respiratory protective equipment (RPE) entering the Australian market to meet demand.
Statement of regulatory intent
This statement of regulatory intent sets out the enforcement approach that SafeWork NSW will take to ensure compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.