COVID-19: Your own health and the health of your workers

Last updated: 25 May 2020 3:08pm

Under WHS law, all employers or businesses are required to manage the risk of COVID-19 to workers and others in the work environment for more information. Please see NSW SafeWork’s guide and FAQs to help you stay safe at work.

A key way you can protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by implementing appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures for your workplace. More information can be found on the SafeWork website.

SafeWork NSW has provided a statement of regulatory intent with respect to compliance with Work Health and Safety legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Case studies, demonstrating how to manage COVID-19 in different workplaces, are available on the SafeWork website.

What is the difference between social distancing and self-isolation?

Social distancing means we reduce the number of close physical and social contacts we have with one another. When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed.

If you are required to self-isolate you will be informed by NSW Health. This will normally only occur if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or have returned from overseas travel. If you are required to self-isolate you will need to be isolated for 14 days.

NSW Health has a range of advice on social distancing and self-isolation.

What does social distancing mean for primary producers, my employees and my workers?

Social distancing means the same for primary producers as it does for the rest of the community.

When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed.

Social distancing means:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out in a public place.
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people.
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

Find out more about social distancing.

What do I do if one of my staff becomes sick?

If an employee becomes sick please ring the national COVID-19 hotline on 1800 020 080 and follow the advice of health officials.

Safe Work Australia has produced an infographic with advice on how to handle cases of COVID-19 in the workplace (PDF, 45.1 KB).

Workers diagnosed with COVID-19 must also notify their employer as soon as possible.

If you are an employer in NSW, you must notify SafeWork NSW as soon as possible where a risk from exposure to COVID-19 has occurred.

Use  Speak Up to let us know about unsafe work anywhere, anytime or call 13 10 50.

As an employer in NSW you must also inform your workers compensation insurer of any workplace injury or serious illness) you become aware of (including COVID-19) within 48 hours.

What can I do if I am having trouble sourcing personal protective equipment or need to discuss Workplace Health and Safety?

NSW Procurement have recently published a list of suppliers who have registered an interest or ability to supply to the government.

While this is part of the government's central purchasing, the information is publicly accessible on the buy.nsw website.

This will be a good first point of call for any industry stakeholders who are struggling to source PPE through their usual channels.

All supplier information has been directly provided by suppliers, without any verification or capability assessments undertaken by NSW Procurement.

When engaging suppliers, please ensure you undertake your own due diligence in line with your organisation’s procurement guidelines.

You can also visit the Industry Capability Network.

SafeWork NSW can provide advice on workplace health and safety and COVID-19 information available on their website.