Coronavirus response measures must consider health & safety of workers

Workers across many industries are at the forefront of our coordinated national response to the emerging Coronavirus.

A principal focus in this response should be on ensuring the health and wellbeing of workers, particularly in sectors such as health, transport and education.

Accurate information about the virus, and access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical, particularly in areas with greater potential of exposure.

More information is currently being sought about guidelines for provision of appropriate PPE.

While state and federal governments are responsible for national control measures, all workers – and their health and safety representatives – can have a major say on workplace control measures to reduce the potential for infection.

The Queensland WHS ACT 2011 outlines the primary duty of care of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who must ensure that the health of all workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers.

Under Queensland law, consultation on workplace health and safety matters is required and the PCBU must consult with workers when considering measures to minimise or eliminate the potential for exposure to the virus.

Remember the laws stipulate that all workers must be provided with a safe working environment. Notify your PCBU if you believe your workplace does not have effective control measures in place.

Health workers are at the centre of measures to control spread of Coronavirus and should be vigilant about protocols for dealing with disease.

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