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So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”

It’s timely to remember these famous words spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, there is wisdom in them.

Employers must not allow themselves to be overcome with fear such that they fail to plan to meet the challenges currently posed by COVID-19.

Here is a basic overview of the “how to” from a safety perspective. This is not a comprehensive business continuity resilience guide.

first considerations- safety

An Employer’s obligation is to ensure safety as reasonably practicable.

This is determined by identifying Hazards and having regard to the likelihood of a risk event occurring and the consequences associated with such.

Here’s how:

1.   Gather a team with the right diverse expertise who know the ins and outs of your business;

2.   Brainstorm and undertake a Risk Assessment by:

a.   Identifying Hazards in your operating environment and the likelihood and consequences of risks arising, which should involve the following non-exhaustive type of considerations:

i.   Are you operating in a higher risk environment, e.g. Aged Care, Health, Aviation or Allied Services?;

ii.   Have you had any reported cases of staff who have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or who have contracted such?

>   Identify any staff who have recently returned from the listed overseas countries; and

>   follow the Department of Health COVID 19 isolation guide;

iii.   What, if any, travel requirements are required for the business? Consider reducing or eliminating non-essential travel;

b.   Take advice and in consultation with other duty holders, contractors (supply chain) and employees, and consider all available options before determining what will or won’t work in minimising or eliminating risks;

c.   Have proper regard to the medical advice in assessing the likelihood and consequences of any risk;

3.   Simultaneously prepare and communicate your Infectious Disease Continuity Policy, Department of Health and WHO guidelines can assist;

4.   Introduce and centralise communication points within the business to eliminate mis-information and to maintain control and confidence;

5.   Implement control measures to eliminate or minimise risk and continue to monitor and update control measures, the Safe Work Australia fact sheet can be found here. Some non-exhaustive measure could be:

a.   Changes to rostering and staggered start and finish times;

b.   Introduction of working from home, where practical and remembering the need to ensure safety at home for staff;

c.   Reducing travel, minimising client and contractor engagement where practical;

d.   Supply of appropriate PPE – e.g. hand sanitisation products; and

e.   Communication of appropriate hygiene practices throughout the workplace;

6.   Where you have reasonable grounds to believe that a worker has been exposed or is displaying symptoms consistent with those identified by the Department of Health, consult with them, direct them to seek medical advice and escalate accordingly;

7.   If necessary, direct such workers to refrain from attending the workplace until they can satisfy you that they are fit for work and consult with them about the various forms of leave and support available.

If you have any queries in relation to the above topics or require specific advice, please contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team at Macpherson Kelley.

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COVID-19: don’t let fear paralyse your planning

18 March 2020
john-anthony hodgens

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”

It’s timely to remember these famous words spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, there is wisdom in them.

Employers must not allow themselves to be overcome with fear such that they fail to plan to meet the challenges currently posed by COVID-19.

Here is a basic overview of the “how to” from a safety perspective. This is not a comprehensive business continuity resilience guide.

first considerations- safety

An Employer’s obligation is to ensure safety as reasonably practicable.

This is determined by identifying Hazards and having regard to the likelihood of a risk event occurring and the consequences associated with such.

Here’s how:

1.   Gather a team with the right diverse expertise who know the ins and outs of your business;

2.   Brainstorm and undertake a Risk Assessment by:

a.   Identifying Hazards in your operating environment and the likelihood and consequences of risks arising, which should involve the following non-exhaustive type of considerations:

i.   Are you operating in a higher risk environment, e.g. Aged Care, Health, Aviation or Allied Services?;

ii.   Have you had any reported cases of staff who have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or who have contracted such?

>   Identify any staff who have recently returned from the listed overseas countries; and

>   follow the Department of Health COVID 19 isolation guide;

iii.   What, if any, travel requirements are required for the business? Consider reducing or eliminating non-essential travel;

b.   Take advice and in consultation with other duty holders, contractors (supply chain) and employees, and consider all available options before determining what will or won’t work in minimising or eliminating risks;

c.   Have proper regard to the medical advice in assessing the likelihood and consequences of any risk;

3.   Simultaneously prepare and communicate your Infectious Disease Continuity Policy, Department of Health and WHO guidelines can assist;

4.   Introduce and centralise communication points within the business to eliminate mis-information and to maintain control and confidence;

5.   Implement control measures to eliminate or minimise risk and continue to monitor and update control measures, the Safe Work Australia fact sheet can be found here. Some non-exhaustive measure could be:

a.   Changes to rostering and staggered start and finish times;

b.   Introduction of working from home, where practical and remembering the need to ensure safety at home for staff;

c.   Reducing travel, minimising client and contractor engagement where practical;

d.   Supply of appropriate PPE – e.g. hand sanitisation products; and

e.   Communication of appropriate hygiene practices throughout the workplace;

6.   Where you have reasonable grounds to believe that a worker has been exposed or is displaying symptoms consistent with those identified by the Department of Health, consult with them, direct them to seek medical advice and escalate accordingly;

7.   If necessary, direct such workers to refrain from attending the workplace until they can satisfy you that they are fit for work and consult with them about the various forms of leave and support available.

If you have any queries in relation to the above topics or require specific advice, please contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team at Macpherson Kelley.