In response to the outbreak of the Corona Virus and its expansion across borders, including into Australia, let’s take a look at how Australian employers ought to address this issue.
- Protect your staff: We need to ensure we do not allow an environment that fosters contamination or encourages spreading. Make sure all staff are aware of the relevant health and safety protocols, particularly around food preparation and the spreading of germs
- Encourage proper hygiene: Remind staff that they should practice appropriate hygiene at work. This includes washing hands before and after handling food, and reminding staff to sneeze into handkerchiefs/tissues or their elbow.
- Monitor your staff’s health: As with any illness, particularly airborne infections; we need to ensure that people who are experiencing any illness/condition that is contagious are not attending the workplace. Things to look out for are excessive coughing, fevers, a sore throat and fatigue. Also staff that have visited China (and in particular the Wuhan region) in the last 6 weeks are at increased risk of exposure.
- Manage the situation: Request medical certification for clearance to work from staff members who are off sick with infections ailments (this includes flu, gastroenteritis and other seasonal viruses). Employers can legally direct staff to attend medical assessments where this is reasonable and the health and safety of others may be exposed.
- Keep up to date: Whilst every news outlet is reporting on this situation, we suggest you stick to formal government announcements such as those issued by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or contact the Novel Corona Virus Hotline on 1800 675 398
Should you have further queries about how to relay this information to your staff, or wish to direct an employee to attend a medical assessment, contact your ReWork account manager on 1300 471 234.