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COVID-19 - Minimising workforce impacts caused by COVID-19

​​(April 2020)

There is currently no immunity to COVID-19 in the general population. The disease is highly infectious.

Businesses should take practical steps to reduce the risk of spread between staff and to the general public.​

To minimise the transmission of COVID-19 and staff absenteeism, manufacturing practices and procedures should include:

  • good personal hygiene
  • effective cleaning and sanitation
  • social distancing between employees (at least 1.5m)
  • notification of staff illness

 ​​What can I d​o to protect my employees and customers?

  • Continue to reinforce good personal hygiene practices.
  • Encourage staff to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and have an adequate supply of soap and paper towel at hand wash stations.
  • Continue to practice good cleaning and sanitation of equipment and surfaces in the workplace, paying particular attention to touch points such as door handles and light switches, and high traffic areas like lunchrooms.
  • Continue to encourage social distancing of at least 1.5m. This includes team meetings, workstations, production lines, picking rotations, smoking areas, lunch, break and change rooms.
  • Review shift arrangements and limit opportunities for large gatherings in the workplace (e.g. lunchrooms, change rooms, car parks, etc.).
  • Divide staff into teams and limit interaction between these teams (e.g. increase time between shifts) to reduce the number of staff that may need to quarantine should an employee contract COVID-19.
  • Non-essential workers should not enter the workplace. Encourage phone or videoconferencing to undertake business.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) and ensure employees stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who does.
  • Exclude sick people from the workplace. 
  • Ask employees on a daily basis if they have any flu-like symptoms. 
  • Have a designated isolation area ready if they display flu-like symptoms while at work.

​Some food regulatory agencies have detailed advice for specific food business sectors on how to minimise workforce impacts.

You can check what information is available here. Your peak industry body may also have advice specific for your industry.

Read more about Workplace health and safety information on the Safe Work Australia website


Read more topics on Novel Coronavirus and Food Safety.

Page last updated: 13 May 2020


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