Australia is closely monitoring and responding to the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Provence, China.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
This particular Coronavirus, COVID-19 is a hazard and has work health and safety (WHS) implications. Businesses, workers and others who may impact the workplace should be aware of and take reasonable actions to eliminate or minimise risks so far as reasonably practicable.
This Info Sheet provides guidance on the reasonable actions that should be taken to manage the risks of CoV within the workplace for the business, workers and others who may be impacted. The information is sourced from various sources with useful links provided for further information. Kitney Consulting can assist with specific guidance where required.
WHS legislation requires persons who conduct a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to manage WHS risks so the health and safety of workers and other people are not affected by the businesses conduct, including the risks for CoV as a biological hazard at work.
The following actions are summarised from the Australian Government and Department of Health guidelines and good business practice for managing concerns with CoV:
The risk of CoV worsening is foreseeable and businesses should monitor information and have contingency plans to respond to changing circumstances and to communicate with workers and respond to concerns.
WHS legislation requires workers to follow reasonable instructions and take reasonable care to ensure their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons, this includes following the instructions of their employer and taking appropriate action for concerns related to CoV.
The following are provided as a guide on the reasonable actions for workers:
The Australian Institute of Health & Safety is running a session for the health and safety profession on Tuesday 10 March 2020 to allow experienced health and safety professionals to share their experience in pandemic planning with others.
The new coronavirus is causing significant concern globally due to its transmissibility, it's potentially severe symptoms and the lack of immunity to the disease. As a result, many businesses are activating or developing pandemic management plans and the AIHS recognises the vitally important role that our members play in that process.
This event will involve a facilitated panel of senior health and safety people, sharing and discussing how they are responding in planning, and risk management related to CoV.
For those who cannot make it on the day, this event will be live-streamed nationally.
Live Stream AIHS Member: $25 +GST
Live Stream Non-Member: $65 +GST
- To build a better understanding of pandemic planning
- To share and learn from industry leaders about Covid19 pandemic planning within their organisation
- To build specific knowledge about Covid19 and the current epidemic
HSE practitioners and professionals who may be being asked to contribute to pandemic planning, designing or being part of organisational responses.
Our thanks to Kitney Consulting for the preparation of this material for our stakeholders: