A new international standard has been produced to help businesses and organisations work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Standard ISO/PAS 45005:2020 Occupational health and safety management — General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic provides a generic set of guidelines that complements various government guidelines such as Queensland’s Keeping your workplace safe, clean and healthy during COVID-19.
It is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risk the disease presents to the health, safety and well-being of people in all settings. This includes those working at home or in mobile settings, and workers and other interested parties in physical workplaces. It covers planning workplace systems, emergency responses, PPE, communicating with workers, working from home, testing, and mental health.
The new standard supports the principle that reasonable measures to manage the risks arising from COVID-19 are in place, and workers should not be required to work unless they are.
The guide includes practical recommendations to organisations and workers on how to manage these risks and is suitable for organisations resuming operations, those that have been operational throughout the pandemic, and those starting operations. It applies to organisations regardless of the nature of business, service provision, size or complexity and recognises that many smaller organisations do not have dedicated WHS departments, facilities management or human resources.
By implementing the guidance in this document, the organisation will be able to:
- act to protect workers and others from the risks related to COVID-19
- demonstrate that it is addressing COVID-19 risks using a systematic approach
- put in place a framework to effectively and timely adapt to the changing situation.
Specific infection control protocols in clinical, health care and other settings are not covered by the standard. Refer to Queensland Health for information about COVID-19 infection control in healthcare.