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Your Teams Working from Anywhere “Post-Pandemic”? Have your safety programs caught up?

With businesses now finding a more permanent rhythm to working environments and arrangements post pandemic, have you adjusted your programs to keep staff safe whilst they are working – home, anywhere, or the same workplace setting as pre-pandemic? 

According to Luis Izzo, Managing Director of Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors at the recent HRD’s Leaders’ Summit, “….a risk management approach is needed to take into account all of the circumstances, characteristics of the individual, features of the workplace and the nature of the work.” 

He goes on to summarise what this looks like for most businesses: 

  • Workplace setup at home 
  • Physical distancing in the office 
  • Good hygiene 
  • Personal protective equipment 
  • And if your staff have returned to the office in any capacity, symptomatic employees must remain at home 

Vaccine Mandates 

Some industries/businesses/government departments also have vaccination requirements. 

When it comes to imposing vaccine mandates, you will need a policy that is clear, concise and adheres to the Discrimination Act. 

According to Izzo, “Subject to discrimination considerations, employers are able to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment in new employment contracts and for customers to enter sites.” 

 “….Any direction must be ‘lawful and reasonable’ in the circumstances. It all comes down to managing the risk. Employers have duty to take all steps reasonably practicable to ensure safe workplaces. Employers’ responses should be based on a robust risk assessment. Consultation with workforce re risks and ‘control measures’ is a work, health and safety requirement.” 

According to Fair Work, for a vaccination mandate to be lawful and reasonable it must: 

  • be directed at ensuring the health and safety of workers of the site 
  • have a logical and understandable basis 
  • be reasonably proportionate response to the risk created by COVID-19 
  • be developed having regard to the circumstances of the site 
  • be timed having regard to the spread of COVID-19 in the local area at the relevant time 
  • be implemented only after encouraging and facilitating vaccination for workers as much as practicable. 

Working from Home – Working from Anywhere 

If it is feasible, and all parties are agreeable to employees working from home for a certain number of days of the week or even full-time, employers need to perform a risk assessment at the employee’s residence to ensure the individual’s safety, health, and wellbeing. At the very least, employers should ensure: 

  • Review and consideration of the physical home working environment – have you conducted a risk analysis, even a checklist system and stored this as part of your audit program? 
  • Has each employee been provided with information, instruction, and training to enable them to work safely at home? 
  • Do you have contact persons noted to ensure employees have ready access to information and help if they have concerns about their working environment 
  • Have you reminded employees (whether by policy or some other means) that the employer’s usual incident reporting procedures apply to working from home? 

Safe Work Australia offer a range of practical resources to assist businesses prepare for post-pandemic work.  

As a workforce compliance specialist, WorkPro has worked with subject matter experts to prepare a range of services, designed to assist business of any size easily administer safety, health, and wellbeing post-pandemic, regardless of the physical working environment. 

Our 1,700 customers across Australia and New Zealand are taking advantage of: 

  • eLearning modules: 
  • working from anywhere safely 
  • working from home safely 
  • working from home safely checklist 
  • A Manager’s Guide to a Covid-19 safe workplace 
  • A Candidate’s Guide to a Covid-19 safe workplace 
  • Vaccination Administration 
  • A standalone function that enables employers to securely collect, view, validate and then choose to store or remove viewing access of the Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate.  
  • The system also automatically notifies workers as they are eligible for Boosters, with automatic reminders built-in  

Want to know more about these functions, or perhaps you need help or advice to implement your safety and compliance programs post-pandemic? Book in a 15-minute chat and let’s get the ball rolling! 

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