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As COVID-19 restrictions ease, employer obligations remain

Despite the easing of public health order restrictions, employers are reminded they still have a duty to protect the health of their workers and minimise the risks of COVID-19 as much as reasonably practicable.

Safe Work Australia has guidance and resources to help employers ensure the health and safety of their workers, including managers and other workers, contractors and volunteers, and others (clients, customers, visitors) at the workplace.

If you are not able to eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, you must protect workers from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by, for example:

  • considering working from home arrangements
  • requiring workers to practice physical distancing
  • requiring workers to practice good hygiene (e.g., through workplace policies and ensuring access to adequate and well stocked hygiene facilities)
  • requiring workers to stay home when sick
  • cleaning the workplace regularly and thoroughly.

You must also ensure the work of your business or undertaking does not put the health and safety of other people (such as customers, clients and visitors) at risk of contracting COVID-19. Protect others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by, for example:

  • requiring them to practice physical distancing, including through contactless deliveries and payments
  • requiring them to practice good hygiene
  • requiring others to stay away from the workplace, unless essential, e.g., such as family, friends and visitors.

You must maintain your workplace to ensure the work environment does not put workers and others at risk of contracting COVID-19 by, for example:

  • cleaning the workplace regularly and thoroughly
  • restructuring the layout of the workplace to allow for physical distancing
  • limiting the number of people in the workplace at any given time.

You must also provide adequate facilities in your workplace to protect your workers from contracting COVID-19 including:

  • washroom facilities including adequate supply of soap, water and paper towel
  • hand sanitiser, where it is not possible for workers to wash their hands
  • staff rooms that are regularly cleaned and allow for physical distancing.

You must provide your workers with any information or training that is necessary to protect them from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 arising from their work. You must consult with workers on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19. When consulting, you must give workers the opportunity to express their views and raise WHS concerns. You must take the views of workers into account and advise workers of the outcome of consultation.

Further information

Read more about COVID-19 work health and safety duties under WHS laws.