COVID-19 in the workplace – Information for employers and employees

Information for employers and employees to prepare for and manage COVID-19 in their workplace, in line with the close contact and isolation protocols under current high caseload settings.

Preparation and COVID-19 prevention

Information for employers

The following strategies will assist in reducing the impact on the workplace should a person with COVID-19 attend your workplace:

  • Have a business continuity plan and/or an outbreak management plan and ensure plans for workforce and supplies are in place to respond to an outbreak with limited additional support.
  • Review the layout of the built environment and whether it is feasible to reduce the use of shared break areas.
  • Consider alternative ways to travel, and encourage social distancing, where possible.
  • Review stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Follow current WA Government mandates for mask requirements to minimise the risk of exposure, and of staff being identified as a close contact. Read guidance for the use of masks (PDF 230KB).
  • Encourage staff to take lunch outside, rather than in lunch rooms.
  • Limit face-to-face meetings and desk sharing, where possible. Where desk-sharing is implemented, encourage staff to wipe down their desk at the end and beginning of their shift.
  • Consider implementing split shifts to separate the workforce into two or more work streams. This may reduce the number of staff who might be identified as close contacts and required to quarantine if a person with COVID-19 attends the workplace. Review work from home policies, where practicable.
  • Have a COVID Safety Plan
  • Promote infection prevention and control principles, including:
  • Keep physical distance
  • Optimise ventilation and filtration in the workplace – see information on COVID-19 and building ventilation and information on COVID-19 and air purifiers/cleaners.
  • Promote COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible staff and contractors.
If a staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms

If a staff member develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or loss of taste and/or smell) they should:

Employers are encouraged to accept the following as evidence of COVID-19 infection by employees:

  • Photograph of their positive rapid antigen test (RAT)
  • PCR test result from My Health Record
  • PCR test result text message
  • Text message link to survey that COVID-19 cases receive following a positive PCR test or RAT result that has been registered on Healthy WA.

Workplace management of cases and close contacts should align with the TTIQ (Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine) Plan.

Positive COVID-19 case in the workplace

Guidance for the management of COVID-19 in the workplace provides more detailed information and a step-by-step guide to assist workplaces with contact tracing. Actions that should be undertaken are summarised below:

  • A business or employer might be notified that someone who has attended the workplace has tested positive for COVID-19 by the person who tested positive, or by WA Health.
  • Businesses should take reasonable steps to identify and inform other workers who may have been exposed to a case while at work and advise them of their testing and quarantine requirements.
  • Privacy and confidentiality of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 must always be maintained. The employer cannot disclose the identity of the case to other employees, unless the person gives them permission to do so.
  • There are very few circumstances where workplaces may need to temporarily close if a COVID-19 positive person has attended the workplace during their infectious period. This will be determined by whether all potential contacts have been identified, and whether a risk assessment has been done to determine if there are enough staff for operations to continue safely.
  • All areas accessed by a COVID-19 positive worker during their infectious period should be cleaned and disinfected, with attention to high touch surfaces.

Advice for specific industries and settings

Useful information

Talking to employees about COVID-19
  • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms and encourage staff to stay home if unwell and get tested.
  • Be aware of the different support service providers you can share with an employee who is isolating or anxious.
  • Advise employee to call 13 COVID (13 268 43) for information on a range of individual issues and queries, including welfare services.
Last reviewed: 17-06-2022