WA COVID-19 Lockdown – What Employers Need To Know

Published February 02, 2021 (last updated January 25, 2022) -
WA Lockdown

Employers in Western Australia must ensure they are aware of their obligations as Perth, the Peel and South West regions continue a five-day lockdown, according to Employsure, Australia’s largest workplace relations advisor.

A range of venues and businesses have been forced to close as health authorities work to trace the movements of a person who tested positive to COVID-19. Businesses affected include pubs, bars, clubs, gyms, indoor sport facilities, cinemas, casinos, and entertainment venues. Restaurants and cafes must close but can still be open for takeaway.

“These short, sharp lockdowns are becoming the norm across Australia for each new coronavirus cluster, and it’s up to business owners to be aware of what that means for them,” said Employsure Managing Director Ed Mallett.

“If employers in affected industries are told to close, they need to abide by these rules. Not only will they incur a fine if they fail to do so, but they risk the health of their staff, customers, and clients.

“For those who can remain open, they need to direct employees to wear a mask at all times in the workplace. Businesses who can switch their operations by having employees work from home should do so.”

Similar short-term lockdowns which have played out in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Sydney’s northern beaches have proven a struggle for business owners, who have faced financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Business owners are being urged to remain vigilant during these times.

Employers should plan for the worst and hope for the best. If an employee or independent contractor tests positive to COVID-19 over the coming days and has physically been in the workplace while infected, the employer must notify health authorities as soon as they become aware.

Having an effective infection control policy that includes identifying and assessing the infection hazards at the workplace, and implementing specific controls can help eliminate or minimise the risk of transmission. These may include physical distancing, regular handwashing with soap, and the use of hand-sanitiser. Appropriate routine environmental cleaning and disinfection should occur regularly at all workplaces.

“Business owners who have workers and employees coming into the workplace need to ensure they’re meeting their health and safety responsibilities and complying with their legal obligations, as well as following any specific Government directions,” continued Mr Mallett.

“All indoor workers and employees must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. It should be worn not only the entire time they are on the clock, but from the moment they step outside their front door. In some circumstances, gloves should also be worn.

“Should a worker or employee fall ill, additional control measures need to be initiated. This includes isolating the infected person until it is safe for them to return to the workplace, identifying anyone they may have come in contact with, and disinfecting the areas they have been working in. Employers may need to direct employees to stay away from the workplace or to obtain medical certificates, and consider whether the employee is entitled to access paid or unpaid personal / carer’s or pandemic leave.

“These lockdowns may occur again as we wait for the rollout of the vaccine. Small businesses should use this time to stock up on whatever PPE is necessary for their workplace. What we don’t want to see is more cases reported as a result of a workplace becoming complacent, or simply failing to follow the rules,” he concluded.


Further enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]

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