Healthcare professionals are currently provided with fewer COVID-19 protections than construction workers, and national guidance on face masks and other PPE must be overhauled to prevent coronavirus case numbers from soaring, according to Australia's peak workplace safety body.
Employers have wellbeing-related duties to contractors and subcontractors and need to think outside the square and build relationships with those who might be suffering from poor mental health, a workplace mental wellness expert says.
Employers that issue "worker permits" to employees capable of working from home, or without implementing a COVID Safe Plan, could be fined $100,000 under pandemic restrictions commencing in Victoria tonight. Meanwhile, NSW has established a permit system for workers entering the State from Victoria, and Queensland has closed its border to NSW, with exemptions for essential workers.
A worker who developed PTSD and other incapacitating psychological injuries from being attacked by a co-worker, and forced to encounter him at work for the next four years, has been granted permission to pursue damages from his employer.
Employers have been warned they bear the onus of ensuring their sites comply with the new COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, which include stringent PPE requirements and workforce caps in many cases, while doctors have warned of the consequences of never "switching off" while working from home during the pandemic.
Business and union groups have joined forces to call for the urgent introduction of a paid pandemic leave scheme, saying the outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria - which entered a "state of disaster" last night - show workers are attending work while infectious and accelerating community transmission.
NSW has lived up to its promise to step up enforcement of coronavirus health orders by fining 10 employers in a blitz. Meanwhile, a Victorian workplace with COVID-19 cases has been closed following Fair Work Commission talks and a visit from an occupational physician.
With Victoria recording 723 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the State Government has extended its face mask rule to all regions and vowed to do more to control the work-related pandemic risks, while NSW has extended its hygiene marshal requirement to another industry.