Employers must manage the health risks to workers and other people affected in the workplace, taking them seriously and treating employees in good faith. Employers should plan ahead and work with their staff and, if applicable, their unions to address likely scenarios arising from COVID-19.
Some practical tips for meeting your obligations:
Engage with your staff about what steps they could take and implement these they are reasonable and practicable and affordable.
Ensure that there is regular cleaning of shared spaces such as kitchens and toilets.
Ensure that you have soap and/or sanitiser in bathrooms and that employees are using it
If your staff are on the road, provide them with hand sanitiser so they can sanitise hands before and after going on customer sights
Encourage your employees and clients to not shake hands. A nod of the head or wave will suffice at this time.
Allow social distancing between employees / clients – e.g. recommended distance is 2 metres.
Consider using video meetings with clients, where you can. (e.g. Skype, or Zoom, or similar technology is readily available and often free)
If an employee is sick, ask them to stay at home. The illness doesn’t have to be Covid-19 related.
If an employee shows signs of sickness at work, send them home. That’s what their sick leave is for.
Consider providing the flu vaccination for your employees – it won’t protect them from COVID-19 but will protect them from other strains of the flu and place less demand on our health system as we move into winter.
Employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or minimise risk and protect workers at all times from workplace hazards. Relevant risks/hazards to consider here are both the actual virus itself, and the mental health issues that may arise for employees given the stress of such an uncertain situation.