COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus strain.

You must identify and manage work health and safety risks, including COVID-19 exposure, whether you are a worker or someone who is responsible for workers. Businesses should also prepare to respond to cases of COVID-19 at work, according to Queensland Health’s recommendations.

Most people who become ill with respiratory symptoms at work are most likely suffering from a cold, the flu, or another respiratory illness, not COVID-19.

Self-quarantine

Self-quarantine is required for workers and others who have:

  1. has traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days.
  2. had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Employees who need to self-quarantine should inform their boss and avoid going to work. If they become ill during the quarantine period, they should seek medical attention right away, and they should call ahead of time to mention their travel or contact history.

Employers should make adequate arrangements to ensure that employees who need self-quarantine do not report to work. Flexible work arrangements, such as working from home, should be made available to the employee whenever possible.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 and other respiratory infections can be prevented with simple hygiene practices similar to those used to prevent the flu.

For workers: 

  1. When coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your bent elbow, dispose of tissues immediately after use, and wash or use hand sanitizer.
  2. Don’t touch your face, nose, or mouth, and don’t shake your hands.
  3. Keep a safe distance from anyone who is sick. Try to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from someone who is crying or sneezing.
  4. If you’re sick, stay at home.

For employers:

  1. Provide hand-washing facilities and ensure that they are kept clean, well-stocked, and functional.
  2. If available, provide soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and cleaning equipment.
  3. Promote good hygiene habits by displaying hand hygiene posters, for example.
  4. Maintain a clean and sanitary environment.
  5. Encourage employees with respiratory illnesses to stay at home until they recover.
  6. If someone at work becomes ill with respiratory symptoms, isolate them in a room or an area away from others.
  7. Make arrangements for the person to be sent home or to receive medical assistance.

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