COVIDSafe workplaces, industry restrictions & reopening updates

All States & Territories now require workplaces to have some form of a COVIDSafe Plan.

Workplaces in Victoria must have a completed COVIDSafe Plan to continue their operation. A COVIDSafe Plan sets out:

  • your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace

  • the type of face mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce

  • how you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

Businesses and industries operating in Victoria must follow COVIDSafe principles:

  • ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)

  • wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth

  • practice good hygiene

  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell

  • avoid interactions in close spaces

  • create workforce bubbles.

Read Reopening Victoria – is your workplace ready? >

From 22nd November 2020 11:59pm, Last Step restrictions towards COVID Normal apply across Victoria. The same restrictions apply in regional Victoria and metro Melbourne. Learn more about how Last Step restrictions affect working in Victoria >

Key points:

▶︎ If you can’t work from home, then you can go to work, and you do not need to carry a permit. The Metro-Regional Work Travel Permit Scheme Directions have now been revoked. However, you should consider flexible working arrangements with your employer, including off-peak travel. If you are unwell, you must stay at home. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, get tested and stay home. 

▶︎ Read the information for workers travelling between South Australia and Victoria >

▶︎ Small workplaces with less than 40 workers can have up to ten workers return to the workplace.

▶︎ For medium and large workplaces that have not previously been able to open for onsite work, up to 25% of the workers may return to the office with staggered arrival and departure times recommended.

▶︎ As restrictions ease it is important to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.

▶︎ When you leave home, you must carry a face mask, unless an exemption applies. 

▶︎ A face mask needs to be worn if you work indoors and also outdoors where you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from other people.

▶︎ This fact sheet for disability service providers outlines how to apply the easing of restrictions >

▶︎ More information for the disability services sector can be found here.

▶︎ All AHPRA registered health workers - and in addition, social work, speech pathology, dietetics, audiology, exercise physiology, orthotists and prosthetists and those providing orthoptics, art therapy and music therapy may provide face to face services: routine and preventative care for individual patients with a COVID Safe plan in place. Telehealth services remain the preferred option for care delivery where appropriate.

▶︎ Community-based health services, and alcohol and drug services can continue to provide services face-to-face.

▶︎ Workforce capacity limits on manufacturing, construction, medical, pharmaceutical and PPE supply sectors are removed. Site visit limits on specialist contractors are also removed. 

▶︎ Testing of asymptomatic residential aged care workers should commence from 19th October 2020.

▶︎ Residential aged care workers are encouraged to complete an online PPE and infection control training course before attending face to face training. The Commonwealth Department of Health has online training for care workers across all health care settings, including aged care. This training covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Employer obligations:

▶︎ Have a COVIDSafe Plan in place that is regularly updated (unless you are a small business with fewer than 5 employees)

▶︎ Have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan if you are a high-risk industry (construction, warehousing and distribution, supermarket and medical distribution centres). Additional conditions are also in place for abattoirs and meat processing businesses

▶︎ Ensure that any workers that can work from home are able to do so

▶︎ Collect records of all workers, subcontractors, customers and clients attending the work premises

▶︎ One worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas

▶︎ Unless an exemption applies, ensure that workers do not work across multiple sites, or for multiple employers

▶︎ Ensure that workers are in good health - workers cannot work if they are unwell and employers must not require workers with symptoms to work

▶︎ If your worker is unwell, send them home and direct them to be tested. They must stay home until they have their result

▶︎ Report any positive cases of COVID-19 to DHHS, Worksafe, Health and Safety Representatives, and notify your workforce

▶︎ Regularly clean your facilities, shared spaces and provide additional cleaning supplies

▶︎ Undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of your workplace in certain situations.

▶︎ Residential aged care employers in Victoria must:

  1. Conduct surveillance testing of all workers that are usually working on the premises in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

  2. Keep records of surveillance testing of workers for coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the purposes of the surveillance testing requirements, this includes all direct employees, contract, sessional, casual and visiting staff members of residential aged care services across all shifts. It does not include contractors performing temporary work on-site.

DHHS will assess future requirements for surveillance testing based on a risk assessment and advise the industry of any changes. More info here >

▶︎ View/download Victoria's updated roadmap to workplaces reopening >

▶︎ View/download Industry Restart Guidelines for Allied Health and Other Primary Health Services >

▶︎ Industry-specific requirements have been provided for all Community Services including healthcare, aged care, and disability services. View/download Industry Restriction Levels - Community Services >

▶︎ View/download Industry Restriction Levels - Common requirements all workplaces >

▶︎ Download COVIDSafe Plan template >

▶︎ Download COVID workplace attendance register >

More information about the steps towards easing industry restrictions for Metro Melbourne is available on the Victorian Government roadmaps website.

If you need further assistance or information, please contact us today.

WorkPlacePLUS acknowledges the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which our national office stands. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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