Preventing the spread of infection at work

Simple hygiene practices, similar to those used to protect against the flu, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

For workers:

  • Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues immediately after use and wash your hands or apply hand sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth and shaking hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is unwell. Try to stay 1.5 metres away from anyone coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you are unwell.

For employers:

  • Provide hand washing facilities and make sure these are kept clean, properly stocked and in good working order.
  • Provide soap or alcohol-based hand sanitiser if available, tissues and cleaning supplies.
  • Promote good hygiene practices, e.g. display hand hygiene posters
  • Keep the workplace clean and hygienic. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door handles and workstations helps prevent contamination.
  • Visit the Smartraveller website for advice about overseas business travel.
  • Encourage workers who are sick with respiratory illness to stay home until they are recovered.
  • If someone becomes ill with respiratory symptoms at work, isolate them by placing them in a room or an area away from others.
  • Arrange for the person to be sent home or access medical assistance.
  • If a worker is confirmed to have COVID-19, call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice. Inform co-workers about possible exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 but maintain confidentiality. Advise workers to seek immediate medical advice if they develop symptoms or are concerned about their health.
  • Follow advice from health authorities on social distancing and public gatherings.

For businesses where workers are at increased risk from contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 (e.g. healthcare industry), additional infection prevention and control practices are required. Guidance for specific industries is available at www.health.gov.au.

Last updated
21 April 2020