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COVID-Safe Tips From Our Consultant

Published January 11, 2021 (last updated February 18, 2021) -
employer with a covid safe business

Just as we thought things might be under control, COVID-19 looks set to rear its ugly head again in 2021 with new cases in New South Wales and Victoria, and border restrictions accordingly being tightened by other states.

To help understand what this means for your business we asked our Workplace Health and Safety Expert, Cathy Nguyen, for some tips on how to prepare for further outbreaks and what employers can do to keep their workers safe and business in operation.

Cathy says the most important thing is to keep track of the current situation and plan for every eventuality.

Stay Up To Date

Keep abreast of State or Territory Government Directions and Public Health orders. Make sure you know what restrictions and directives are relevant to you and your business at any time, such as when and where to wear a face mask.

Some industries require a COVID-safe plan. In any case, a plan on how to stop COVID-19 from entering your workplace, and how to contain it if it does, makes sound business sense.

Make A Plan

To make a COVID-safe plan you should look at your business and think “how can the virus get in and what are the risks?”.

Consider what you can do to prevent or minimise the risks of your business being affected by COVID-19 and stop it from spreading. Put the risks and how to control them in the plan. Make sure your employees are on board and understand the plan and what to do. Make sure the plan stays current and include options to keep operating if the business is affected by COVID-19.

Include a Checklist

The plan should list practical steps to prevent and control infection, perhaps in the form of a checklist that includes the below.

Physical Distancing

Work from home if possible. If not, minimise contact and take meetings online. Install desk screens in the office if distancing is proving difficult. Adapt your rostering by staggering start and finish times, even break times, to keep workers apart.

Infection Control And Increased Hygiene

Consider (deep) cleaning methods. Provide hand sanitiser, wet wipes and personal protection equipment such as face masks. Install signage in strategic spots (eg. the bathroom) to help educate employees on correct hygiene practices.

Record Keeping And Restrictions On Entry

Keep tabs on your employees’ whereabouts while they are at work. Record contact details of all visitors through a contact register or a QR code – remember this is mandatory in some States like New South Wales.

Emergency Response Plan

List steps for both and the employer and employees to take if infected and allocate relevant tasks like notifying authorities.

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Communication and Review

Review the plan regularly as the situation changes. Make sure employees are across any changes and they understand who is responsible for updating the plan and enforcing compliance. Notify them of the possible consequences if they don’t comply.

Keeping the Business Going

If because of restrictions you have to close the workplace or you have less work for your employees, you can consider the following:

  • Working from home
  • Taking paid or unpaid leave
  • Working from another location
  • Reducing hours of work
  • Redundancies

The above options are not applicable in all circumstances and may involve a process. Employsure can help you consider options for your business – call us for free initial advice or download our free COVID-19 Safety Planning Pack here or below.

Free COVID-19 Safety Planning Pack

Templates and Resources to help protect your business from COVID-19

About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 25,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people. Call our team to receive free initial advice on any workplace relations topic.

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