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Frequently asked questions to help you understand what a COVIDSafe Plan is, whether your business needs one and your obligations as an employer.

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  • COVIDSafe Plan FAQs

A COVIDSafe Plan supports a business in the protection of its staff, customers and visitors. It also prepares for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

A comprehensive COVIDSafe Plan will set out:

  • Your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

Permitted work premises in metropolitan Melbourne must have a COVIDSafe Plan to continue their operations under the First Step.

Failure to comply could result in an on the spot fine of up $9,913 and up to $20,000 for serious offences.

Under Step One, businesses in Melbourne can only operate for on-site operations if they are included in the list of Permitted Work Premises, published by DHHS.

If you are unsure, you must cease operations and call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 to clarify if you can continue to operate.

Under Step One, workplaces that remain open must:

  • Have a COVIDSafe Plan in place that is regularly updated (unless you are a small business with fewer than 5 employees)
  • Ensure that any workers that can work from home are able to do so
  • Collect records of all workers, subcontractors, customers and clients attending the work premises for 15 minutes or longer (certain exemptions will apply)
  • One worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas
  • Employers must ensure that workers do not work across multiple sites, unless it is not practicable to limit workers to one site only.
  • If it is not practicable to limit a worker to only one work site, or if the worker has multiple employers, then the worker must declare this to their employer(s). The employer(s) must maintain a record of all workers who work across multiple work premises.
  • If your worker is unwell, send them home and direct them to be tested. They must stay home until they have their result
  • Report any positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) to DHHS, WorkSafe, Health and Safety Representatives, and notify your workforce
  • Regularly clean your facilities, shared spaces and provide additional cleaning supplies
  • Undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of your workplace in certain situations.

Under Step One, workers must:

  • Know your workplace’s COVIDSafe Plan and understand what’s required
  • If you can work from home, you must work from home
  • If you need to travel to work, you must have a permit
  • Check that you are feeling well before starting your shift – you cannot work if you are unwell
  • Provide your details to your employer when you start your shift for record keeping purposes
  • Only work at one location – you cannot work across multiple worksites
  • Notify your employer if you intend to work at a different worksite
  • If you are feeling unwell, go home and get tested
  • Tell your employer if you test positive to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Regularly clean equipment and shared spaces.

The following industries are, in addition to their COVIDSafe Plan, required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan with enhanced obligations:

  • Construction
  • Warehousing and distribution centres
  • Abattoirs and meat processing
  • Medical and Pharmaceutical supply business
  • Supermarket Distribution business

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a work site in metropolitan Melbourne as part of a permitted activity, must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility. Advice on access to childcare for permitted workers is provided below.

Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.

There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the scheme requirements. This includes employers, and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

Operating businesses under Step One require a COVIDSafe Plan.  All business owners are encouraged to use the templates to create a plan to return to work safely when restrictions are eased.

A dedicated Industry Coordination Centre has been set up within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to support businesses and consider uncertain cases to determine if businesses can safely operate under Step One.

If your business is closed under Step One, you can only visit to:

  • ensure the facility is safely closed
  • support employees who are working from home (i.e. organising I.T. equipment to be delivered to their home)
  • address an emergency or otherwise required by law.

Emergency maintenance is also permitted.

There are no specific exemptions provided for businesses that have existing contractual obligations. Work to fulfil existing contractual obligations is only allowed to proceed  if it is for a Permitted Work Premises or is an ancillary necessary to support the operations of a Permitted Work Premises or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations.

No. An employer is not required to complete a COVIDSafe plan if they have fewer than five workers on site,  or if the work site  is located outside of Metropolitan Melbourne. However, a COVIDSafe Plan is still recommended for these workplaces.

No. You will only need a COVIDSafe Plan if you have five or more workers working at a specific work site, or if you are in a high risk industry which is required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

For clarity, if you are in a high risk industry (other than retail), you will need to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan even if you have less than five workers at a specific work site.

Yes, if you are already employed and provided that the work you are doing is classified as permitted and your employer has a COVIDSafe Plan that minimises the contact you have with other people while at work. No new employment arrangements can be entered into that require workers to move in and out of metropolitan Melbourne.

Your workplace COVIDSafe plan should recognise that while working in the regional Victoria you should operate as if you were working in a Step One  area given that you represent the higher risk to the local community.

If your work is not classified as permitted then you cannot go to work, even if your workplace is in a regional Victoria area.

To discuss your business, please call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

No. If your workplace is closed under Stage 4 restrictions (i.e. not a permitted workplace), you can only visit:

  • to ensure the premises is closed safely
  • to support employees who are working from home (e.g. organising IT equipment to be delivered to their homes)
  • in an emergency or if otherwise required by law
  • to carry out emergency maintenance.

For more information on permitted workplaces visit the DHHS website.

If your workplace is closed during Step One (i.e. not a permitted workplace), you can only visit:

  • to ensure the premises is closed safely
  • to support employees who are working from home (e.g. organising IT equipment to be delivered to their homes)
  • in an emergency or if otherwise required by law
  • to carry out emergency maintenance.

Staff numbers must be kept to the absolute minimum required and will need to be issued with Permitted Worker Permits. You must also have a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

Information about the Permitted Worker Scheme and COVIDSafe Plans (including a template) are available on our website.

Yes. A COVIDSafe plan will be required by the building operator, since this is a work premises with five or more workers. The entire building constitutes the ‘work premises’, so the fact that the workers are spread across the building does not change the fact that there are five or more workers on site at a work premises.

Subcontractors that employ five or more workers on a given site must complete their own COVIDSafe Plan for that worksite, even if that worksite is shared with another employer.

There may be some site-specific elements of a COVIDSafe Plan that a subcontractor is not able to fill out themselves if they do not manage the site (such as screening and collecting records of all site visitors). In such instances, it is recommended that the subcontractor adopt the site-specific elements of the main employer or operator of the worksite to ensure that they are consistent.

You must not car-pool to and from work with a person with whom you do not ordinarily reside, unless it is not otherwise reasonable and practical for either person to get to work (e.g. you don’t have a licence or access to a car).

Where possible, other arrangements, such as getting driven to and from work by another household member, should be made.

The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). If traveling in a car with someone who is not part of your household, you should sit in the back seat in order to maintain physical distancing, and wear a face covering in the car.

Increased ventilation in the vehicle is advised by not having air on recirculate and opening windows wherever possible. High touch surfaces in the vehicle should be cleaned and sanitised regularly.

Yes. Free, short, accredited training is available to help staff identify and manage the ongoing risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace. Free infection control training will help businesses prepare to safely reopen and ensure their customers and workforce are protected.