The challenge facing businesses as we move towards full reopening is managing the interaction between vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and patrons. For businesses which are currently subject to public health orders, their response to unvaccinated workers is largely legislated by the government and dependent upon the advice of health authorities. However, as a further relaxation of COVID restrictions looms, businesses will become principally responsible for asserting their own policies over the interaction between vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Workplace-specific risk assessments
As always, the obligation to ensure the safety of staff and patrons at the workplace is the responsibility of the person conducting a business. In producing, consolidating, and implementing a responsible workplace policy on the interaction between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, a workplace-specific risk assessment is required to gage the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
It is important to take note of the rate of staff vaccination in your workplace and refer back to any available medical advice that applies to your industry and apply this to your COVID policy.
Specific factors to be taken into account when conducting workplace-specific risk assessments include whether:
- Workers are required to interact with the public or other staff when performing their duties;
- Social distancing is possible or not;
- The business is considered an essential service;
- Whether high community transmission is still occurring or if workers are at an increased risk of infection; and
- Workers interact with individuals vulnerable to COVID-19, including family members.
Depending on the industry, other factors to be considered included the usage of health and safety measures (such as masks, sanitiser, and social distancing), whether or not staff can work from home, whether client contact can be conducted virtually or contactless and whether the staff in the workforce have legitimate medical exemptions.
If you need help implementing a workplace-specific risk assessment within your business, contact Morgan + English on (02) 6545 3339 for further advice.