News & Insights
Pandemic / COVID-19 Safety Plans – Requirements in Your State or Territory
As businesses prepare to reopen their doors post-lockdown, they must navigate the Health & Safety requirements of their state or territory.
Each jurisdiction has approached the pandemic differently, making it important to familiarise yourself with the current stage of restrictions the region is in, and what it means for businesses operating within it.
State and territory governments may require employers and persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to develop clear and robust strategies prior to resuming normal operation of their business activities.
An effective way to meet your obligations is by development of a Pandemic Safety Plan.
A Pandemic Safety Plan is a document which sets out the processes and procedures implemented by a business to effectively control risks, including from infectious diseases such as COVID-19, to an acceptable level and ensure the provision of a healthy and safe work environment for employees and other persons such as visitors and customers.
The effectiveness of your Pandemic Safety Plan is dependent on implementing and maintaining the controls required to enable your business to operate safely.
Greencap has prepared the below table to serve as a quick reference for the current guidance around what is required for businesses in each state or territory.
Understanding your obligations as an employer
Greencap has prepared a helpful information sheet for your reference in the preparation of your COVID-19 Safety Plan. It covers:
- What is a COVID-19 Safety Plan?
- What should a Safety Plan cover?
- How do I develop a Safety Plan for my workplace?
- How do I communicate my Safety Plan to my employees and other relevant persons?
Current COVID-19 Safety Plan Requirements by State/Territory
Updated 29 May 2020
|State / Territory||Action Plan Requirements|
|Australian Capital Territory (ACT)||
The ACT Government is easing restrictions with a staged roadmap in line with public health and Federal Government guidance. The ACT Government has set out guidance for businesses to ensure they are managing COVID-19 risks appropriately within the workplace, and refers to the SafeWork Australia COVID-19 Resource Kit for appropriate risk management. Several types of business are required to develop and follow COVID Safety Plans, these do not require the use of a standard template but must address all the risks identified in the government guidance documents.
|New South Wales (NSW)||
The NSW Government is gradually easing restrictions in line with the Federal Government’s Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia.
Businesses can now prepare COVID-19 Safety Plans and register as a COVID Safe Business with the NSW Government. While COVID-19 Safety Plans are mandatory for certain businesses, they can be prepared on a voluntary basis by other businesses to protect staff, customers, and visitors.
|Northern Territory (NT)||
The NT Government is currently implementing the third and final stage in its process to ease restrictions and implement a ‘road map to the new normal’. As part of this, employers and persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) need to develop clear and robust strategies to allow them to resume operation of their business activities in a timely manner.
The NT Government roadmap requires that "prior to resuming operation all businesses and organisations to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place."
The NT Government has issued COVID-19 Safety Plan checklists specific to individual business types. Further information on how to assess your readiness to ‘resume business’ can be found on the NT Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) portal.
The Queensland Government has developed a plan to ease restrictions to ensure businesses can reopen in a way that increases business activity but does not compromise the health of customers, staff, and the community.
Stage 3 eased restrictions came into effect at 12 noon on 3 July 2020, allowing all business types to reopen, following the guidance of only allowing 1 person per 4 square metres (or per 2 metres for businesses with an area less than 200 square metres) and keeping a register of customers who visited for a minimum of 56 days.
A workplace health and safety (WHS) plan is an essential element in reopening and operating your business safely. For certain high-risk industries, it is mandatory to have completed a COVID SAFE checklist prior to reopening.
All businesses that are open or opening can complete a voluntary general checklist to provide guidance on reopening safely. A COVID Safe Checklist is mandatory for businesses in high-risk industries, and businesses that complete site specific COVIDSafe Plans can submit applications to Queensland Health to be allowed greater patronage.
More information can be found on the Business Queensland portal.
|South Australia (SA)||
Step 3 from the South Australian government's Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions took effect across the state from Monday 29 June, with various restrictions in place for businesses.
All businesses permitted to operate under the Step 3 restrictions must complete a COVIDSafe Plan before commencing activities.
Fact sheets providing guidance on activities can safely recommence are available on the SA Government's Recovery from COVID-19 page.
The Tasmanian State Government has set out a three-stage roadmap to recovery, and Stage 3 restriction easing came into effect as of 26th June. As part of the Government’s Plan to Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania, all businesses are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with minimum COVID-19 safety standards.
The Government has provided information on their COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework inclusive of resources to assist in development of COVID19 Safety Plans.
With a recent resurgence in cases in Victoria, Melbourne has been placed in Stage 4 restrictions from 2 August, whilst regional Victoria remains in Stage 3. Certain restrictions have been reintroduced for Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, with stay at home directives in place, requirements to wear a mask or face covering when leaving the house, and an enforced curfew from 8pm to 5am.
From 29 July 2020, employers are self-employed persons with management or control of a workplace now have the obligation to notify WorkSafe Victoria if there is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in their workplace for a worker that has been present during their infection period. Find out more about reporting process on the WorkSafe Victoria website.
More information for businesses can be found on the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support page, which includes industry specific fact sheets around current restrictions. The Victorian Government is also providing online Coronavirus (COVID-19) training which should be completed by at workers in certain industries.
|Western Australia (WA)||
As the WA Government implements a four phase road map to transition people safely back to work, businesses will be required to develop COVID-19 Safety Plans prior to reopening, and display posters in prominent areas signifying that they have a plan in place.
WA is currently in Phase 4 of the roadmap, with the majority of restrictions on businesses now eased, subject to the implementation and maintenance of COVID-19 Safety Plans.
In addition, workers in the hospitality sector will be required to complete a mandatory AHA Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 hygiene training program, with businesses only able to reopen once all requirements have been met.
More information can be found in the article 'COVID Safety Plans key to reopening WA businesses' on the WA Government website.
How can Greencap help?
Since the onset of the current pandemic, Greencap has been working closely with clients across a range of industries to help them proactively manage their risk and maintain business continuity within a rapidly changing regulatory landscape.
Greencap can assist with development of your COVID-19 Safety Plan, and provide guidance, gap analysis and reviews of existing systems and processes in the context of COVID-19 – with particular regard to returning to, and maintaining, business operations in a pandemic environment.