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How To Support Staff As ‘Vaccine Police’ In Your Business

Published November 16, 2021 -

If your small business is public facing, you could be concerned about the new role your staff may be expected to perform checking customer vaccination documents. The government has made it clear that only the fully vaccinated are allowed access to many services, and you may well be wondering how this will play out in your business, and how your staff will manage.

As it stands, many small businesses such as bars, cafes, hair salons, beauty spas, restaurants etc will require proof of double vaccination. But who will be checking these documents in small establishments with staff who are not hired or trained to enforce government mandates? 

In this blog post, we will look at ways of supporting your staff through this time. 

What Is The Term ‘Vaccine Police’ And Is It Important?

The term ‘Vaccine Police’ is a trending term to describe the staff working in the service industry who by working in your business are involved in enforcing the ‘fully vaccinated only’ government restrictions.

It’s important to consider, that many workers in the service industry are highly trained in their service such as hair or beauty etc, but are not trained to enforce rules on the public with command. They may be young staff such as waiters, or beauty therapists and highly skilled but not hired to make demands on the public for government required documentation. As a business owner, you may be worried about how your staff will handle these new tasks.

How To Support Your Staff As ‘Vaccine Police’

If you have a small business, it is likely you already have a risk assessment. (If you don’t, you should!) It’s time to re-visit this document (we have templates and checklists in our re-opening Free e-guide.) Ask your staff for input, imagine all the ways that the public and your staff could interact and react to the request for Vaccination proof documentation. Talk to staff and really imagine how your customers will respond to proving their vaccination when accessing your services. Will some customers refuse to show documents? If so, think about how your staff will handle this, especially if some staff members are not confrontational types. Consider the personalities in your team and if possible, move people around to suit public facing roles in the short term. The restrictions will pass, so reassure employees and employers they just need to do what they can, whilst this phase is in place. 

  • Risk Assessment – Consider what could happen and how badly/well vaccination requests could go in your business premises
  • Write a policy – Write a way of handling of any refusal of vaccination documents
  • Implement the policy – Utilise these ways of handling incidents
  • Train staff – Try to train staff on how to ask for documents, and what to do if refused
  • Be Flexible – Move more confidant staff around if required 
  • Be Alert – Vaccination is a tricky subject for some and be alert that some people may get angry. Discuss and place an emergency protocol in place for threatening behaviour. 

Supporting Staff as Vaccine Police

Employers have a health and safety duty to minimise the risk of a hazard occurring in the workplace. Hazards can take form of customer aggression (as this may result in physical or psychological harm) and therefore the business has a duty to minimise it.

“Clients have told us they’ve already seen an increase in workplace violence over the past few months when enforcing COVID rules, and this is expected to get worse when workplaces open exclusively for the fully vaccinated. While of course business owners need to comply with government health orders, putting them, as well as their young workers in the firing line of aggressive customers can be detrimental to their physical and mental wellbeing. It is more important now than ever before for business owners to be proactive and ensure the correct control measures are implemented to minimise the risk of physical and psychological harm in the workplace.”

 Employsure senior health and safety manager Larry Drewsen.

Download our Free e-guide to help you re-open safely. This essential guide contains vital templates to perform risk assessments and checklists. Call us if your business needs employment relations support, we offer free initial advice on 1300207182

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 30,000 clients in ANZ. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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