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Challenging times need innovative safety regulation

As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic medically, economically and socially, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has had to make changes to its work processes.

These changes are designed to ensure the safety of clients, staff and the general community, while we deliver the work safety regulator services we are responsible for across the state.

For starters, we have established a dedicated COVID-19 Work Health and Safety Hotline on 1300 005 018. This is for advice to businesses on their duties during the pandemic, as well as practical tips on managing a clean and hygienic workplace.

Operationally, the biggest change is that for the time being front line staff have ceased proactive advisory and assessment visits to workplaces. Instead our inspectors and advisors will be giving advice and direction via phone or email.

This doesn't mean we won't have inspectors in the field though. Our reactive responses will continue via a modified process, with a triaging matrix to guide the decision on whether a site visit is essential, and if it is, how the risks will be managed.

With industry support, inspectors will monitor compliance remotely, reducing the need to attend workplaces in person. When workplace visits are required, as with other essential activities, this will primarily be achieved through social distancing and good hygiene practices.

Core administrative business functions, such as processing high risk work licences, will continue as normal. All our other staff are, for the most part, working from home.

At a national level, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is in close communication with its counterparts in other states and territories – sharing knowledge and learnings wherever possible.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is determined to continue delivering all services it is responsible for across the entire state, even if in a less conventional form.

We urge all Queenslanders to stay safe and healthy during these unusual times.