By Michael Selinger
As more Australian businesses prepare to return to normal operations, Safe Work Australia has published a significant amount of practical material on its website to guide businesses on how to safely work with the ongoing threat of a potential coronavirus outbreak.
The Safe Work Australia material has been presented in a user-friendly manner so that you can select the industry in which you work and the topics of interest.
Key topics that will apply to most businesses include the following:
To supplement this broad information, businesses can also access a number of very detailed checklists that relate to these key areas.
The checklists probably provide the most useful tool developed by Safe Work Australia in that they are a comprehensive guide to ascertaining whether your business has undertaken all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of your workplace. These tools will also prompt businesses to assess whether there are deficiencies in their current hygiene and cleaning practices, as well as the practicability of physical distancing measures.
The checklists for some of the key areas include:
There is also a high-level workplace checklist available.
Duty of care
It is important to review this material as it evidences publicly available information relevant to your duty of care in maintaining a safe workplace. To put it another way, a failure to have reviewed and taken into account this information could demonstrate a breach of your duty of care if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs at your workplace, particularly if there is a clear link between the infection and a failure to take steps that have been recommended.