With new COVID-19 cases in Queensland, we have answered some common employer questions about COVID-19 at the workplace.
Firstly, while you are not expected to diagnose people, as an employer you have a work health and safety duty to minimise the risk where practically possible.
What happens if an employee contracts COVID-19?
If you have an employee who displays symptoms or contracts the virus they must seek medical attention immediately. To protect other employees, the employee must remain absent from the workplace on personal leave until they obtain a medical clearance.
What if an employee comes in contact with someone who has the virus?
If an employee comes in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have the virus, they should notify you immediately and not attend work. In order to protect the workplace, the employee should remain absent from work until they can provide a medical clearance stating they have not contracted the virus.
What if an employee has come in contact with a suspected case of the virus, or has travelled to a ‘hot spot’?
An employee who has come in contact with someone suspected of having the virus or has travelled to one of the known hot spots should notify their employer immediately. To ensure the safety of fellow workers, the employee should stay away from the workplace even if they are displaying no symptoms. As a precaution, the employee should obtain medical clearance prior to returning to work. They may also have to self-isolate depending on Government regulations.
If you reasonably suspect someone could have the virus or has been exposed, this creates a health risk at your workplace. Consider following these steps: Isolate the person, seek advice from health officials, ensure the person has transport to their home or to a medical facility, clean and disinfect the areas where the person and close contacts have been, liaise with health officials regarding contact tracing, and finally, review risk management controls and consider whether work may need to change.
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