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How to stay COVID Safe at work

Employees have a responsibility to help keep workplaces clean and hygienic.

Helping business get back to work

Working from home guidance for workers

Information and checklists to help you set up a safe work environment at home.

Have symptoms?

Come forward and get tested even if you only have mild symptoms like a cough. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Four square metre rule

How the four square metre rule applies to gatherings, events and venues under public health orders.

General guidance


COVID-19 is a contagious illness, and for some people it only results in mild symptoms.

Community transmission of COVID-19 can be prevented if you:

  • monitor the spread of the virus in your region and always comply with NSW public health directions
  • ensure physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres wherever possible
  • practise good personal hygiene and regular hand washing
  • work with your employer to find ways to do business safely
  • download the Commonwealth Government COVIDSafe App and ensure it is active when in public

SafeWork NSW guidance


This guidance from SafeWork NSW is designed to help you maintain a COVID safe workplace and work practices so you can stay safe in your job.

Infection control

For most workers, the following steps are recommended for good infection control:

  • employers must allow employees to work from home where it is practical to do so
  • ensure physical distancing by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • practise good hygiene by frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • be aware of how to spot COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) and do not come to work if you're unwell
  • make sure your workplace is regularly cleaned and disinfected
  • have signs and posters around your workplace to remind everyone of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread.

More information on infection control is available on the Safe Work Australia website. Safe Work Australia also has a business resource kit on how to deal with COVID-19, as well as guidance on cleaning.

Flu vaccinations

SafeWork NSW encourages flu vaccinations for all workers involved in direct customer contact (subject to individual medical advice).

Although flu vaccinations will not protect you from contracting COVID-19 they help prevent influenza and therefore make identification of COVID-19 symptoms easier.

Funding of the vaccination is a matter for the worker and their employer.

Attending the workplace

Do not attend your workplace if you are experiencing any flu like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose) or you have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

Should you contract COVID-19, the public health unit and/or your GP will advise you when you are fit to return to work and will provide you with a letter of confirmation for your employer if required.

Temperature scanning for employees

Although SafeWork NSW advises against employers taking body temperature scanning for several reasons, employers may still choose to do so as part of their overall controls in consultation with workers.

Face masks/surgical masks and gloves

In most workplaces where physical distancing and suitable amenities are available for washing hands with soap and water, no additional personal protective equipment is required.

Wearing a face mask is not required for the general population, nor are gloves (unless involved in food prep).

Under Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws your employer must do everything reasonably practicable to eliminate, or where it's not practicable, to minimise, your risk of contracting COVID-19 at work.

This can be done in a variety of ways, such as reducing the number of people you come in close contact with during work, screening customers and clients before engaging in close contact, and using physical barriers to maintain social distancing.

Health care workers caring for patients with suspected COVID-19 should use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect themselves against COVID-19. For more information refer to Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) - Coronavirus COVID-19

Hand sanitiser 

Where it is impracticable or unavailable to provide fresh running water and soap, hand sanitiser may be required as a suitable alternative to ensure good hand hygiene (for example, in motor vehicles).

Employees are encouraged to discuss access and availability of soap and water or hand sanitiser at their workplace.

PPE and labour hire workers

The labour hire agency and host employer have a shared obligation to ensure the workplace is safe. That includes a responsibility to communicate, consult and coordinate with each other. This should include determining who is responsible for providing and maintaining any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Either the labour hire agency or host employer is responsible for providing any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Both the agency and host employer are responsible for making sure a specific risk assessment of potential hazards is undertaken and appropriate safety measures are put into place.

Generally, before labour hire is engaged, a discussion between the agency and host employer takes place regarding everything you need to do the job safely, including knowledge, qualifications and PPE, and who will be responsible for providing it.

The labour hire agency and host employer should also provide relevant points of contact for health and safety matters.

How do public health orders apply to work-related vehicle travel?

You must comply with public health orders rules at all times and any limitations or restrictions around travel.

Travel between states and territories

There are currently no closures or restrictions on NSW’s borders, however other states and territories have placed restrictions on cross-border travel.

Safe Work Australia provides detailed guidance to assist workers who need to travel for work:

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment provides information for people who work in primary industries.

COVID-19 testing after travel

Under public health orders  people who arrive in Australia by aircraft from overseas or by vessel from another port outside of NSW must enter into a quarantine arrangement for 14 days as directed by NSW Police.

If you develop symptoms such as a fever, a cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention.

If you’re visiting your GP, call ahead beforehand and tell them where you have travelled.

You should self-isolate and exclude yourself from work until your test result is available.

If you become unwell with these symptoms without travel, see your local GP and discuss your symptoms.

There are other illnesses such as influenza your GP may wish to test you for as that can cause similar  symptoms.

If your employer requires advice on testing they can call the Coronavirus information hotline on telephone: 1800 020 080.

Learn more about coronavirus symptoms and testing.

The Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws do not require an employer to direct a worker to work from a different place.

This might include working from home.

If your employer’s direction to attend work and not work from home is, in the circumstances, lawful and reasonable, you are required to follow their direction.

However, an employer is required to, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the health and safety of their workers.

If you are required to be in your normal place of work, you should be able to access facilities for good hygiene including soap, water and toilet paper. Physical distancing should also be maintained wherever practicable.

The employee must cooperate with their employer to ensure the work from home arrangements are safe and appropriate for the work required. This may require a self-assessment, video assessment or check of the employee's  work arrangements at home.

Health and Safety Representative training

SafeWork NSW is committed to ensuring Accredited Training Providers (ATPs) can continue to provide Health and Safety Representative (HSR) training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, ATPs can make an application to SafeWork NSW to deliver HSR training via real time remote connected delivery.

Real time remote connected delivery means training delivered through live video streaming or conferencing, using platforms such as Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

It does not include:

  • any pre-training
  • self-paced learning, or
  • pre-recorded trainer videos or teaching course content (note: this does not include identified supporting educational videos, for example, showing construction sites).

For more information, or to access the application form to deliver real time remote connected delivery, email tacs@safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.

Construction induction training (white cards)

Accredited Training Providers (ATPs) can make an application to SafeWork NSW to deliver white card training via real time remote connected delivery.

Real time remote connected delivery means training delivered through live video streaming or conferencing, using platforms such as Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

It does not include:

  • any pre-training
  • self-paced learning, or
  • pre-recorded trainer videos or teaching course content (note: this does not include identified supporting educational videos, for example, showing construction sites).

For more information, or to access the application form to deliver real time remote connected delivery, email tacs@safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.

Related apps

Speak Up Save Lives app logo

Speak Up Save Lives

Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. 

If you see something unsafe in your workplace, SafeWork NSW wants you to speak up and tell your boss. This app lets you report an unsafe work situation and it gives you the choice to remain anonymous. You can tag your location, include photos, and choose to be kept updated on the issue you’ve reported.

Last updated: 22 May 2020

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