We understand there are a number of business owners and operators out there who are concerned with ensuring their internal process and procedures comply with new, and expected, COVIDSafe regulations.
As a result, we have provided a brief summary of the key points that should be followed when combatting COVID-19 within workplaces all around Victoria, in accordance with the recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria.
An employer’s COVIDSafe obligations to its employees when operating an onsite business in Victoria are as follows:
- Have a COVIDSafe Plan in place that is regularly updated in accordance with government announcements (see below);
- Ensure that any workers that can work from home are able to do so;
- Collect and store records of all workers, subcontractors, customers and clients that attend the work premises for 15 minutes or longer;
- Ensure there is only one worker per four square meters of enclosed workspace or in shared areas (this includes employees and customers together);
- Ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that workers do not work across multiple sites or premises, unless it is not practicable to do so;
- If a worker is unwell, send them home and direct them to be tested;
- Report any positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), WorkSafe and the relevant Health and Safety representatives, and notify your workforce;
- Regularly clean the facilities, shared spaces and provide additional cleaning supplies, paying particular attention to touchpoints; and
- Undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of the workplace in certain situations
In Victoria, all onsite business operations must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place to ensure the protection of staff, customers and the business, with the ultimate aim of preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
A COVIDSafe Plan must include the following:
- The taken by the employer to reduce the risk of introduction to, and the spread of, coronavirus in all workplace premises;
- The process in place to maintain and store records of everyone who comes to the business premises (including employees, contractors, customers and clients);
- The appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be worn at the business premises by all employees and contractors;
- Identify and outline the process in place to respond to suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at the business premises; and
- An acknowledgement that the employer understands its responsibilities and obligations to consult employees, so far as reasonably practicable, on matters related to health and safety that directly affect or are likely to directly affect them.
The government acknowledges that all industries work differently, and as a result no one COVIDSafe Plan will work for all businesses. However, all businesses should bear in mind the following principles when developing their COVIDSafe plan and complying with their employer obligations:
- Ensure physical distancing within the business premises;
- Ensure face masks are worn;
- Practice good hygiene;
- Keep up-to-date records of staff activity and act quickly if a staff member becomes unwell;
- Avoid interactions in close spaces; and
- Create workforce bubbles.
We will continue to monitor government announcements in relation workplaces and COVIDSafe Plans, however in the meantime please regularly keep up to date with announcements on the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria website.
Please feel free to pick up the phone and give us a call, and we can make sure you and your business is COVIDSafe!