The Victorian Government introduced CovidSafe Plans as a requirement for “open” businesses in 2020 to provide a structured manner in which to keep business open whilst keeping employees and customers safe.
CovidSafe Plans were extended to all businesses in Victoria to safely reopen, maintain a CovidSafe workplace and prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID‑19) in the workplace.
The CovidSafe Plan is grouped into six CovidSafe principles. These include:
- Ensure physical distancing – required in all areas of the business, including lunchrooms etc.
- Wear a face covering – current restrictions require masks to be worn inside and outside, except when seated and eating or drinking
- Practise good hygiene – support this by ensuring sanitiser is readily available and sufficient signage throughout premises for employees and customers alike
- Keep records and act quickly if workers become unwell – how you will respond in the event of a positive Covid case
- Avoid interactions in enclosed spaces – as per social distancing
- Create workforce bubbles – try to reduce and/or eliminate the need for employees to cross over areas to reduce contamination potential. This is not always possible in all businesses.
All businesses are required to monitor and review their CovidSafe Plan to ensure that it reflects:
- the current Government requirements, and
- current workplace conditions
Additionally, where businesses have multiple sites, they must have a CovidSafe Plan for all sites.
It is not enough just to have a CovidSafe Plan in place – there is a responsibility to ensure that it is being followed, monitored and reviewed thereby maintaining currency.
Employers may consider the following to support their CovidSafe Plan:
- Review and monitor the CovidSafe Plan – identify a schedule for review and record each review
- Regularly check the State Government’s restrictions to ensure that the plan is reflective of current requirements
- Train employees on the CovidSafe Plan, including but not limited to:
- their obligations
- how to have a conversation with a colleague or customer to remind them of their need to comply with the CovidSafe Plan
- remind your employees if they have any of the symptoms of Covid they are required to stay at home and not to return to work until a negative Covid test result is returned – maintain records
- Where an employee is not required to wear a mask (due to having an exemption) the employer should seek a copy of the exemption and maintain it in their records
- If the employee is in a visible location the employer may consider, in consultation with the employee, asking them to wear a discrete lanyard stating they have a medical exemption
- Where breaches of the CovidSafe Plan are identified take proactive action, including recording actions taken.
In summary, a CovidSafe Plan needs to be a ‘living’ document which is actively monitored to ensure its currency to both the work environment and the Covid requirements. It must be adhered to at all levels i.e. the employer, employee and customers alike.
Useful resources include:
Templates and general CovidSafe Plan information is available at:
This article has been prepared for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific circumstances, please contact Workplace Resolutions directly on (03) 5499 6131 or by email at email@example.com