Preparing for a pandemic: a guide for employers

How employers can manage the occupational health and safety (OHS) risks associated with an infectious (communicable) disease pandemic.
Last updated

Jul 2021

Reading level

medium

File type and size

PDF, 174.08 kB

Document length

16 pages

Directions and industry requirements are regularly updated

This guidance is correct as at time of publication, however, Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions and industry requirements are regularly updated. Readers of this guidance need to check the latest Victorian CHO Directions for applicability.

Restrictions apply across Victoria

Depending on your industry your workplace may:

  • be required to close temporarily for on-site work
  • remain open for on-site work with a completed COVIDSafe Plan in place
  • be subject to restricted operations or industry specific obligations

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria may be updated at any time. You must stay up to date with changes for your industry.

How are my occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations impacted by the restrictions?

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 Directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO).

Preparation of a COVIDSafe Plan forms part of the development of a safe system of work. However, having a COVIDSafe Plan and complying with the Victorian CHO Directions does not necessarily mean you have complied with all of 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.

What it contains

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of disease. This guide has been prepared for use by employers in the event that the Federal Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer declares that a pandemic is affecting Australia.

This document tells you:

  • what is a pandemic and its effects
  • employer and employee obligations for health and safety
  • good occupational health and safety (OHS) practice in pandemic planning
  • the community and workplace impact of a pandemic

At the end of the document are resources on proper hygiene practices and a list of sources for more information or advice.