Coronavirus : Human Resources
Author: Clayton Cook.
As of 15th March, the World Health Organisation has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic and the Australian Government has enacted its emergency plan. But amid stories about crazed behaviour – tasering for toilet paper and supermarket brawls – authorities are calling for calm. The critical message: stay alert but not anxious.
With our first cases being confirmed over the weekend in Townsville, and more across North Queensland you need to consider the impact on your business and your people seriously. How you and your staff handle this virus may have negative outcomes for your business reputation (particularly with social media) - it is a risk.
As employers, we have additional responsibilities to ensure our employees are kept safe during this health pandemic. Working with our industry body (RCSA), we have implemented a new WHS Risk Management Guide specifically relating to COVID-19. This guide will be used to communicate employee safety protocols, employer rights and leave entitlements to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved. Workcover Qld has also realised a page in the last few days (24 March 2020) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Risk Management.
We have received many enquiries from our clients about the challenges of understanding their rights and obligations in managing employees and so we have chosen to share our WHS Risk Management Guide. We strongly recommend your organisation develop and implement your own protocols however, you may wish to read our guide and consider the following practices:
- informing employees of the symptoms of the coronavirus;
- reinforcing or implementing safety policies and procedures;
- providing contact information for reporting coronavirus-related concerns; and
- remaining mindful of occupational health and safety regulations if respirators or face masks are offered to employees.
Other key points provided by the Australian Government emergency plan:
- Practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading. Wash your hands with soap and water. Don’t touch your face. Avoid shaking hands. Stay 1.5m away.
- If you’re travelling or returning to Australia, you'll now be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens.
- If you experience the following symptoms, see your doctor – fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
If you're concerned call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice 1800 020 080.
Townsville, North Queensland Resources: We will continue to update this page daily with links and information we believe might be of value to you, your employees, and your business.
Understanding Pandemics and COVID-19 for Managers / Human Resources personnel:
- World Health Organisation - COVID-19 advice for the public - including Myth-busters, getting workplace ready
- Pandemics - History of the deadliest - where does COVID-19 sit?
- Mckinsey - Implications for business
- World Health Organisation Situation reports
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
- Online training videos COVID-19
Work Health & Safety and Human Resources
COVID-19 Awareness Course
As the coronavirus pandemic gathers pace, fake news and health myths (we’re looking at you, Miranda Kerr!) have sprung up everywhere spreading further panic and confusion.
'Men are more likely to get it, home testing kits are reliable, and Vitamin C can prevent coronavirus'
No. No. No.
One of our favourite eLearn authoring tool creators, Udutu have developed a succinct and informative course on COVID-19. We have been using this course as part of our staff information pack to help dispel myths and hyperbole surrounding this pandemic. We highly recommend you check it out.
- Mass Gatherings Direction (no 2) - non-essential / essential businesses. Qld Health
- Workcover Qld - FAQ - worth a read
- Workcover Qld - Workplace Risk Management
- Getting your Workplace ready for Covid-19 - World Health Organisation
- Safe Work Australia provides further information and resources from WHS regulators. This information can be accessed via links on the Safe Work Australia Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for PCBUs webpage.
Coping with Stress
Official Government Websites
Health Advice & Support
- Coronavirus Health Information Line - you can call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone: 1800 020 080
- Healthdirect hotline - you can call this number to speak to a registered nurse about your health concerns. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone 1800 022 222. Website: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au
- World Health Organisation - Coping with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
Posters for your workplace:
World Health Organisation
- Wash your hands
- Protect yourself and others from getting sick - wash your hands
- Protect yourself and others from getting sick - coughing and sneezing
- Protect others from getting sick - avoid close contact
- Coping with stress during 2019-nCoV outbreak
Information for your business:
- Townsville City Council: https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-townsville/living-in-townsville/council-support-and-information/_nocache
- Cash flow assistance fact sheet for business - QLD Treasury
- Queensland COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans - $500million loan facility interest free first 12 months up to $250,000
Economic stimulus package