How your organisation can become a COVID safe workplace
Written by Ilsa Bird, Sector Support Coordinator
What is a COVID safe workplace?
As restrictions begin easing in NSW, organisations have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff as they return to the office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below we have included tips and checklists for organisations to ensure your workplace is COVID safe. If you wish to obtain information about COVID safe aged care service delivery, please see the Department of Health Website.
- document and communicate cleaning procedures for the workplace
- include clear guidelines about what needs to be cleaned and/or disinfected, how often and whose responsibility it is
For more information, download the Safe Work Australia cleaning guidelines here.
- document and communicate hygiene procedures for all staff
- ensure that adequate soap is always available, and that staff are also provided with hand sanitiser
- workplace buildings should also ensure that handwashing and COVID hygiene posters are displayed to remind staff about safe practices
- ensure that your workplace is adhering to physical distancing restrictions (one person every 4 square metres)
- communicate with staff about how many people can occupy spaces such as offices, kitchens, meetings rooms or other areas if there are restrictions
- avoid hot-desking or desk sharing where possible and ensure work spaces are regularly cleaned
- determine and document an office visitor policy and encourage staff to use online platforms for meetings wherever possible
- utilise a work-from-home, hybrid or shift work model to limit the number of people in offices
- staff should avoid greeting others with a handshake, hug or kiss so communicate alternative acceptable greetings
- ensure staff understand their rights and responsibilities when they are unwell. For example, when to get tested, self-isolation guidelines and their leave entitlements if they do become unwell
- provide information about where and how staff can get a flu shot to remain well through the flu season
- regularly survey staff about concerns, challenges and feelings about returning and continuing work during COVID. Offer support to staff utilising external and internal resources
Record keeping and documentation
- ensure that your organisation has a comprehensive return to work and safety plan that includes all the updated policies and procedures as well as any additional checklists
- keep a record of who is attending the workplace each day and ensure that staff contact details are up to date
- encourage staff to download the COVID safe app
- ensure regular communication with staff regarding procedures and processes as well as any changes and updates
- subscribe to reputable and trustworthy sources of information to keep up to date with COVID restrictions and policies e.g. Department of Health and Safe Work Australia
- provide appropriate training for staff regarding changes e.g. infection control training and PPE training
- communicate with clients about what your organisation is doing to keep staff safe and well as this will reassure them when staff enter their home
- download and distribute the ‘It’s okay to have home care’ fact sheet to clients
How can my organisation register as a COVID Safe organisation?
We encourage providers to adapt these resources to suit your specific organisation and staff.
- How to stay COVID safe at work (poster)
- Safe Work Australia Workplace Checklist
- National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles
- WFH guidance for employees
- Protecting vulnerable workers
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