To assist Australian businesses to manage the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19), Safe Work Australia (SWA) has added new, industry-specific guidance and resources to its ‘COVID-19 Information for workplaces’ central information hub. The New South Wales Government (NSW Government) has also released a suite of resources to support regional farms and agricultural businesses.
“Safe Work Australia is continuing to develop and publish work health and safety guidance and resources to support workplaces to manage risks arising from COVID-19,” SWA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter said. “The guidance is relevant to workplaces transitioning back to usual operations as restrictions ease, as well as those workplaces that have been able to stay open safely.” SWA has updated its central information hub with new guidance for managing risks from COVID-19 in the accommodation services, mobile consultants and client engagement services, and tertiary education industries.
The accommodation services guidance now available covers “topics including physical distancing and hygiene when providing shared amenities, recreational facilities and housekeeping services,” Baxter said, while the guidance for the tertiary education industry “includes information on managing risks from COVID-19 in teaching areas, campus facilities and on-campus accommodation”. As part of the release, SWA also advised that existing retail industry guidance has now been expanded to include additional information for shopping centres.
Resources under development
SWA has now published guidance for 33 different industries, all of which can be located via its central information hub. Further industry-specific resources are also currently in development, “including guidance for Live performance, Private security and Snow and ski industries”, Baxter said. “Specific Q&As are also under development about how to plan a safe return to the usual workplace and about bathroom and toilet facilities,” Baxter added.
NSW Government resources
The NSW Government has also launched a new suite of resources designed to guide NSW regional businesses as they manage the risk of COVID-19, with particular attention paid to non-customer-facing regional businesses such as those in the farms and agricultural sector. “The materials available include practical, inexpensive guidance to keep your workers safe during this time,” Kevin Anderson, NSW Minister for Better Regulation, said. “Common misconceptions for agricultural workers are that you can’t ride in a car with others or that you can’t hire seasonal workers anymore. That’s simply not true so long as you have the right measures in place.”
Some of the measures that farms and agricultural businesses can take include: avoidance of close contact within vehicles (and increasing ventilation by lowering windows), worker checks to ensure those on-site are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms, ensuring that drivers who assist with loading stock minimise contact with surfaces, using phone or radio communication over in-person communication where possible and utilising contactless delivery options.
“Now that the COVID restrictions are easing it’s time to get NSW’s regional economy back up and running,” John Barilaro, NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro, said. “I encourage every business to jump online and download these simple yet powerful tools to map out a safe way back to business that makes life easier for customers and workers as we make our way into recovery.”
SWA’s full suite of COVID-19 guidance and resources can be accessed via its central information hub.
The NSW Government’s suite of resources for its state’s agricultural sector includes checklists, downloadable posters and social media tiles and can be accessed at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/industry-guidelines/agriculture.
For the latest information on Australia’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, visit www.australia.gov.au.
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