What should an employer do to protect workers and others at a workplace?
Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and safety in the workplace.
To do this, you should keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the information provided by the Australian Government Department of Health, the Smartraveller website and advice from state or territory government agencies, including health departments and WHS regulators. See the Information and Resources section below for links to these agencies.
You will not be able to completely eliminate the risk of workers contracting COVID-19 while carrying out work. However you must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise that risk.
What control measures will be reasonably practicable will depend on the work being carried out by workers and particular workplaces. Generally, you should:
- determine appropriate control measures in consultation with workers, their representatives and taking account of official information sources (see below for further information on consultation)
- implement those measures and clearly communicate them to all workers, including providing clear direction and guidance about what is expected of workers
- workers should know when to stay away from the workplace
- what action to take if they become unwell
- what symptoms to be concerned about
- continually monitor relevant information sources and update control measures when and if necessary
- employers should continue to provide information to workers, including changes to control measures, as the situation develops
- provide workers with continued access to official government sources for current information and advice
- provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment and facilities, and information and training on how and why they are required to use them
- require workers to practice good hygiene, including:
- frequent hand washing
- limiting contact with others, including through shaking hands
- covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing
- require workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work, and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate
- seek advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace
- limit access to the workplace by other people, unless necessary
- reconsider work-related travel and implement other methods of communication
- for example, rather than requiring employees to undertake air travel to attend face to face meetings, facilitate attendance by tele or videoconference
- remind workers that they have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others
- provide workers with a point of contact to discuss their concerns, and access to support services, including employee assistance programs
- allow workers to access available entitlements in line with obligations under any applicable enterprise agreement, award, employees’ contracts of employment, and workplace policies
For information about workplace entitlements and obligations, go to the Fair Work Ombudsman web page Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws, or call the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 - select the prompt for the Coronavirus hotline.