We’re currently learning complacency is the best friend of COVID-19. As a community, we can’t afford to drop our guard for a moment – and that includes in the workplace.
COVID infections that occur at work are the responsibility of the business owner, directors, managers and supervisors. They all share a Duty of Care to protect workers, suppliers and customers from a COVID infection. Should an infection occur in your business, you’ll need to demonstrate you have conducted risk assessments and implemented processes to mitigate those risks.
There May Be No Insurance Cover For COVID-19
Depending on your industry, COVID-19 infections contracted in your workplace may not be covered by WorkCover. (Industries that are covered include education, first responders and healthcare workers.)
In addition, COVID-19 infections may not be covered by any insurances such as Directors and Officers Liability insurance, Management Liability insurance or travel insurance (if you have workers travelling for business).
If you have a suspected case of COVID-19 at your workplace, get in touch with us for guidance on what you should do next. But importantly, get your COVIDSafe Plan in place NOW and make sure it is consistently followed!
What Does Your COVIDSafe Plan Look Like?
A great place to start is the Safe Work Australia website. Look for the National COVID-19 safe workplace principles where you can narrow your search to your industry and the information you require. These guidelines are evolving so don’t be misled into thinking your COVIDSafe Plan will be set and forget. You will need to keep updating it.
The winter months are notorious for colds, flu and sniffles so part of your COVIDSafe Plan must include rules for your team to follow if they (or a member of their family) is unwell. In essence, your plan should include a requirement that they cannot return to your workplace until they receive a negative test result or been in self-isolation for 14 days. The same holds true if they have visited a COVID hot spot recently or been in contact with someone who is currently being tested.
If your team includes managers and supervisors, they need to be instructed to look out for staff who are displaying cold or flu symptoms. Any signs of illness need immediate action like asking staff to work from home. Otherwise, you risk a shutdown of your entire business.
If you have an open-plan office or have customers visiting your premises, you may need to install sneeze barriers to keep everyone safe.
Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, there are some things you cannot force staff to do under Fair Work legislation (like forcing them to undertake a COVID-19 test).
How Do You Achieve A Balanced Approach?
Running a business has always been tough and complicated but 2020 has taken things to a whole new level. That’s where the team from End2End Business Solutions can help.
We’re here to help you:
- Conduct workplace risk assessments
- Develop processes to reduce those risks
- Prepare policies and procedures for all team members to follow
- Implement the new protocols so everyone knows what’s expected
- Assist you with managing staff when things go off-track
For practical guidance and advice, talk to the team at End2End on 02 8977 4002