Australia’s National Cabinet has agreed to 10 new workplace principles as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, including the need to consult workers, social distancing, exemplary hygiene measures, and effective use of the hierarchy of controls.
The National Cabinet also agreed to develop nationally-consistent, industry-specific work health and safety guidance on COVID-19, which will be accessible via a central hub provided by Safe Work Australia.
The guidance will be developed and endorsed through Safe Work Australia, working with its members (the Commonwealth, states and territories, employer groups, and unions), and housed on a revamped Safe Work Australia website.
Australian workplaces will be able to use this central hub of WHS guidance and tools to help manage health and safety risks posed by COVID-19.
To support the development of the nationally-consistent guidance, the National Cabinet agreed to 10 ‘National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles’, listed below.
National COVID-19 safe workplace principles
- All workers, regardless of their occupation or how they are engaged, have the right to a healthy and safe working environment.
- The COVID-19 pandemic requires a uniquely focused approach to work health and safety (WHS) as it applies to businesses, workers and others in the workplace.
- To keep our workplaces healthy and safe, businesses must, in consultation with workers, and their representatives, assess the way they work to identify, understand and quantify risks and to implement and review control measures to address those risks.
- As COVID-19 restrictions are gradually relaxed, businesses, workers and other duty holders must work together to adapt and promote safe work practices, consistent with advice from health authorities, to ensure their workplaces are ready for the social distancing and exemplary hygiene measures that will be an important part of the transition.
- Businesses and workers must actively control against the transmission of COVID-19 while at work, consistent with the latest advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, including considering the application of a hierarchy of appropriate controls where relevant.
- Businesses and workers must prepare for the possibility that there will be cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and be ready to respond immediately, appropriately, effectively and efficiently, and consistent with advice from health authorities.
- Existing state and territory jurisdiction of WHS compliance and enforcement remains critical. While acknowledging individual variations across WHS laws mean approaches in different parts of the country may vary, to ensure business and worker confidence, a commitment to a consistent national approach is key, including a commitment to communicating what constitutes best practice in prevention, mitigation and response to the risks presented by COVID-19.
- Safe Work Australia (SWA), through its tripartite membership, will provide a central hub of WHS guidance and tools that Australian workplaces can use to successfully form the basis of their management of health and safety risks posed by COVID-19.
- States and territories ultimately have the role of providing advice, education, compliance and enforcement of WHS and will leverage the use of the SWA central hub in fulfilling their statutory functions.
- The work of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission will complement the work of SWA, jurisdictions and health authorities to support industries more broadly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic appropriately, effectively and safely.
myosh COVID-19 Reporting Module
Self-reporting Contact-tracing HR evaluation
As stated in the workplace principles above, businesses and workers must prepare for the possibility that there will be cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and be ready to respond immediately, appropriately, effectively and efficiently, and consistent with advice from health authorities.
The purpose of the myosh COVID-19 Reporting Module is to allow people to report either a suspicion of or actual COVID-19 illness. It is designed to facilitate effective communications to HR and provide advice to affected individuals based on government guidelines.
COVID-19 reporting will assist with protecting other workers within your organisation with the aim of minimising the spread of the disease. It will allow HR to contact staff and contractors who may have come in to contact with affected people and then take the relevant action. Many of the fields are based on reporting requirements from the World Health Organisation.
Features and functions
- Allows self-reporting of COVID-19
- Facilitates HR to manage their response in line with emergency response plans
- Allows contact tracing
- Real-time information with automated rules-based emails and push notifications
- Track related COVID-19 cases