On this page

Want to learn more?

Employsure can help you better understand

What is a COVID-19 Safety Plan?

Published August 27, 2020 Author: Employsure
manager of small business manages their covid-19-safety-plan

COVID-19 has changed the world. Has your business changed with it? Preparing your business and your workplace for the new realities of COVID-19 will be essential, now and for the long term.

Under health and safety legislation you must ensure the health and safety of your workers, employees and others at the workplace, as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes ensuring minimising the risk workers and others at the workplace have of contracting COVID-19. 

Under all states and territories, it is either a requirement or a recommendation for a business to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. There are some exceptions, and some extra criteria for businesses in different regions; regardless, it is highly recommended to implement a Safety Plan.

Employsure is able to assist you in creating and implementing a COVID-19 Safety Plan. This article will hopefully answer some outstanding questions you may have.

How Do I Create A COVID Safety Plan?

Before putting together a plan, refer to official advice and directions regarding COVID-19 from the relevant state health authority. These authorities will have some guidelines as to what your obligations are as a business owner.

It is also part of your health and safety obligations to consult with your employees or workers for each stage of developing your COVID Safety Plan. Consultation involves giving your employees and workers a genuine opportunity to shape the health and safety decisions you make and can include

  • Sharing information
  • Inviting feedback
  • Talking about proposed measures and controls
  • Incorporating feedback into your COVID Safety Plan
  • Informing employees and workers about the reasons for your decision and options you considered

Step 1 – Identify The Risks

Ask yourself a series of questions, relating to your employees and how they may interact with each other and members of the public. In doing so, you can ascertain the risks of COVID-19 transmission between workers, or between the public and your workers.

For example, ask yourself:

  • Do you have any workers who recently came back from overseas or designated hot spots?
  • Does the work require regular and close contact between workers or with members of the public in your workplace?
  • Do any workers who undertake face-to-face work away from the main place of work, e.g. sales representatives?
  • Are you aware of anyone in the workplace who has returned a positive test for COVID-19?

Other important elements to consider if your business’s physical layout may make it difficult for staff or visitors to maintain social distancing, and the current WHS measures you have in place.

The COVID Safety Planning Pack has an Assessment Tool included within it that can greatly assist you during this step.

Step 2 – Assess the Risks

Assess the risks you’ve identified as high, medium, or low based on their likelihood of occurring and the severity of the consequences.

Step 3 – Control the Risks 

Having established the risks to your business, now you should go through how you will control the risks in your workplace. You can categorise the risks, for example, like so:

  • Physical distancing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning
  • Training
  • Record keeping
  • Communication
  • PPE
  • Emergency Response Plan, and
  • General (e.g. Government directions, ill workers)

By going through these categories, and controlling the aspects of each, you can better control the risks of COVID-19 transmission in your workplace.

Step 4 – Implement and Review

Once you’ve controlled the risks, you must implement your safety plan. If you need assistance with signs and posters to display your safety plan to others, download our COVID Safety Planning Pack below.

An important element to also include is reviewing your plan, Employsure recommends you go through these steps regularly to ensure your workplace is as COVID-safe as possible. The frequency of reviewing your Plan will depend on the nature of the hazards and risks unique to your business.

COVID Safety Advice

By now, all business owners probably understand the basics of how COVID-19 is transmitted, and what the basic recommendations are to limit the spread. As a refresher, the most common recommendations are:

  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Wearing of facemasks if social distancing is difficult to maintain
  • Proper hand hygiene, including provision and use of hand sanitizer
  • Sneezing or coughing in a hygienic manner
  • Avoiding physical or close contact with others (e.g. handshakes)

Other things to consider is provision of PPE (including masks) to employees, and having signs and posters around the workplace to remind staff and visitors of the risks of COVID-19.

Steps to Become A COVID Safe Business

If you’d like more information on how to become a ‘COVID Safe’ business, why not download our FREE COVID-19 Safety Planning Pack? See below.

While you can’t become 100% COVID safe, this pack can help you set up your business to reduce the risks from COVID-19. It will also give you peace-of-mind that you are getting the fundamentals right.

 

FREE COVID-19 Safety Planning Pack

Get free templates and checklists to prepare and safeguard your business for COVID-19.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is COVID Safe?

    COVID Safe may refer to a few things.

    The Federal Government has a COVID Safe app, a tool that is intended to help identify people exposed to COVID-19.

    COVID Safe may also refer to State Government initiatives to assist businesses in reducing the risk of COVID-19 in their businesses.

  • Do I Need to Have A COVID Safe Plan?

    All businesses in Australia owe their employees and visitors to their workplace a Duty of Care when it comes to their health and safety. As COVID is a health risk, one could infer that a COVID Safe Plan, or similar, is therefore a requirement of all businesses.

    However, whether an employer is directly obligated to have a COVID Safe Plan may vary depending on their state, territory, industry or other. Regardless of being directly obligated to or not, Employsure heavily recommends that every business implement a plan to reduce the risks of COVID transmission in their business.

  • How Do I Know If I Need A Universal Or High Risk COVID Safe Plan?

    Businesses in certain industries in Victoria may be required to have a High Risk COVID Safe Plan. Refer to the public health directions available here to see if your business is included in the affected industries. Always ensure you check the website for the latest information as the requirements can change in a short space of time.

    In other States or Territories, refer to your health and safety regulator’s website for any industry-specific COVID Safe Plan template that you are required to use.

  • My Business Is Required to Close For Six Weeks. Do I Need to Develop A COVID Safe Plan?

    Regardless of whether the business has been required to close, you should still develop a COVID Safe Plan if you plan on re-opening.

  • Is The COVID-19 Safety Plan Mandatory?

    Whether an employer is directly obligated to have a COVID Safe Plan may vary depending on their state, territory, industry or other. Regardless of being directly obligated to or not, Employsure heavily recommends that every business implement a plan to reduce the risks of COVID transmission in their business.

    All businesses in Australia owe their employees and visitors to their workplace a Duty of Care when it comes to their health and safety. As COVID is a health risk, one could infer that a COVID Safe Plan, or similar, is therefore a requirement of all businesses.

  • Do I Have To Share The COVID-19 Safety Plan With My Employees?

    Yes. As you owe a Duty of Care to your employees’ health and safety in the workplace you must share a Safety Plan with your employees and train them in the protocols that you develop.

  • Is The COVID-19 Safety Plan Different For Each Industry?

    Each Safety Plan will be unique to each business, as no business is exactly alike. It follows that COVID-19 Safety Plans will be different for each industry. Each plan should be tailored the specific needs and conditions of your business.

  • What If My Business Offers Multiple Services?

    You may need to conduct separate risk assessment processes for the different services to account for the unique hazards, risks, and controls relevant to the respective services. The result of the risk assessment process may lead to different COVID Safe Plans for the different parts of your business.

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

1300 207 182

Live Chat

Click here