In line with new health advice, office-based workers will be able to return to 75% capacity from Monday 8th February 2021.

Legislation will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament this week to ensure the public health directions protecting Victorians from coronavirus – including requiring workplaces to have a COVID-Safe Plan – can continue to be enforced.

What does this mean for Employers and Employees?

  • Employers are required to ensure workplaces keep to this limit and that all other staff continue to work from home.
  • Employers must outline their plan for ensuring no more than 75% of their office-based workforce attends the office on any one day in their COVID-Safe Plan.
  • Record keeping requirements for workplaces will remain unchanged, which means that an employer must keep a record of all workers and all visitors who attend the premises for longer than 15 minutes.
  • As restrictions ease it is important to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.
  • You must continue to wear face masks when required unless a lawful exception applies.
  • You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to. It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

There is no change to your obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations), as a result of the restrictions.

Preparation of a COVID-Safe Plan forms part of the development of a safe system of work. However, having a COVID-Safe Plan and complying with directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) does not necessarily mean you have complied with your duties under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations.

You must follow any health directions that apply to how your business must operate and ensure that you are meeting your obligations under the OHS Act. Employees must also comply with their duties under the OHS Act.

For further information please see the following links:

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-sector-guidance-office-workplaces

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces

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