26 September 2023

SafeWork advises employers on virus

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SafeWork Australia has entered the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, releasing updated advice for people conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) in relation to the spread of the disease in the workplace.

In a statement, SafeWork Australia said Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws required PCBUs to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and others in the workplace.

“This includes providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risk to health and Safety,” WorkSafe Australia said.

“Exposure to COVID-19 is a potential hazard for workers and other people at workplaces.

“PCBUs must have measures in place to protect worker health and safety and manage these risks.”

It said PCBUs needed to keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken was measured and appropriate, including monitoring the Department of Health and Smarttraveller websites, along with any advice from State or Territory Government agencies.

“Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others,” SafeWork Australia said.

“Workers should be reminded to always practice good hygiene and other measures to protect themselves and others against infection.”

Comcare has also updated its WHS advice, including the directive that staff should review organisational policies and measures for infection control.

“Identifying and controlling risks to workers and other persons connected to the workplace, arising from exposure to COVID-19 may involve advising workers to self-isolate for 14 days if they have travelled to certain overseas destinations or been in close contact with anyone confirmed to have coronavirus,” Comcare said.

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