Coronavirus - What can be done to reduce risks from a viral outbreak such as COVID 19

Under OSH legislation, employers are required to provide and maintain, as far as is practicable, a working environment in which their workers are not exposed to health risks. This includes situations where employees and contractors may be at risk of contracting viruses such as the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Employers need to keep up to date with the latest health warnings from the Australian and WA governments to ensure that any action taken is measured and appropriate.

If there is concern about the risk of employees being exposed to the virus at work, a risk assessment should be carried out with reference to the latest information available at the links below. Employers should develop prevention and control strategies appropriate to the workplace, in consultation with their employees, and ensure that all employees are aware of and follow these strategies.

These strategies may include:

  • Providing clear advice about quarantine periods following at-risk travel or contact with at-risk or unwell people, in accordance with advice from the Department of Health
  • Fitness for work policies and procedures, including instructions on actions employees should take if they have symptoms consistent with a virus, such as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. 
  • Planning for contingencies such as staff shortages.
  • Minimising or eliminating the need for work travel.
  • Reviewing cleaning and hygiene protocols.
  • Implementing social distancing systems.
  • Reminding staff about the need to ensure good personal hygiene and encourage regular hand washing.
  • Using personal protective equipment where required based on risks.
  • Implementing strategies to manage workplace stress.
  • Ensuring safe systems of work are used for people working at home.
  • Providing information, instruction and training to employees on COVID-19 risks and control measures.
  • Regular communications with staff should the situation or organisational policies or procedures change. 

Further information

10 Mar 2020

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