Safe Work to employers: 'WHS duties still apply'

Employers are reminded to fulfill their duty in stopping COVID-19

Safe Work to employers: 'WHS duties still apply'

Even with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in some areas, Safe Work Australia issued a reminder that workplace health and safety (WHS) will remain enforced.

"Safe Work Australia reminds employers, workers and small businesses that WHS duties still apply despite COVID-19 public health orders and directions easing across some states and territories," said the organisation in a statement.

"Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their workers and minimise the risks of COVID-19 as much as reasonably practicable," it added.

According to the COVID-19 WHS duties for employers and workers, which was issued as far back as April 2020, employers have the duty to ensure that workers are protected from the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.

They also have a duty of keeping the workplace and the organisation's facilities a safe work environment by ensuring that they are regularly cleaned and restructured to allow for physical distancing.

It is also the duty of employers to provide information, training, instruction, and supervision to their teams, and consult them on health and safety matters related to COVID-19.

"Workers are most likely to know about the risks of their work. Involving them will help build commitment to your processes and any changes you implement," it said.

"Consultation does not require consensus or agreement but you must allow your workers to be part of the decision-making process."

Read more: Employers 'confused' by conflicting vaccination rules

The guidelines come as some areas in Australia announce that they are easing restrictions against COVID-19, such as the case in Western Australia, where restrictions will be eased to allow more people at hospitality venues, sporting stadiums, and homes.

This means that nightclubs and hospitality venues can increase their capacity, with the limit to be removed from April 14. QR codes will also be limited to venues where full vaccination is required from visitors.

Concerns are picking up, however, as WA reports a new spike in COVID-19 cases as of late, with new infections hitting 9,754 on the bulletin released on March 30.

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