A newly-launched online training program aims to help Australian businesses with a tangible pathway in preparing them to get safely back to work.
The Occupational COVID-19 Workplace Training Scheme is an initiative of DeakinCo., part of Deakin University, and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and developed by health professionals and industry experts, based on the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The 40-minute program is specifically designed to ensure that the people staffed in a given workplace are trained in safe working practices to limit the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and ensuring as well the well-being of customers and the greater community.
Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said of this initiative, “While we are now looking forward to a gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions, many businesses will continue to experience deep impacts on their operations in the weeks and months to come.
“That is why building a plan to help them get back to work or back to full function is a priority. This course offers a credible channel for businesses to create a safer environment for their workers and customers and to adopt the best health practices that will be critical to rebooting our economy.”
Willox added, “By completing the training, companies can demonstrate to staff, their families, customers and suppliers that they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of transmission. If as many businesses as possible take up this training, it will help us to navigate our way more quickly and safely to normal operations. It will improve the knowledge and understanding among our workforce of best practice approaches to developing corona-safe workplaces and communities.”
The program has been developed primarily by Deakin Medical School Associate Professor and former WHO professional, Dr Sandeep Reddy; and Dr Neil Cowen who has 40+ years’ experience in health service management, public health, and immunology.
Dr Reddy stated his belief that the program can give people the confidence and education required to safely return to work.
“As a doctor who has previously worked at the WHO assessing infectious disease surveillance capacity, I can assure you that this program provides accurate and accessible information that will be valuable to employers and their workforces,” Dr Reddy said. “Because COVID-19 continues to be researched and understood, the advice from governments and the WHO will obviously continue to be updated. As advice evolves, alerts will be shared to those who have completed the training to ensure participants are working with the most up-to-date information.”
Those who complete the training will receive a certificate and the option to purchase a wearable badge containing a QR code. This QR code, if scanned, will let customers check that employees they come into contact with have completed the health and safety training.
Deakin Co. CEO Glenn Campbell said that the program is both practical and efficient in supporting both internal and external stakeholders of the business.
“By undertaking this scheme, employers are able to communicate clearly how important the safety of their people is,” Campbell said. “Not only will the program educate and help protect those connected to your business, but it can help foster trust amongst those who deal with you externally. “
The Occupational COVID-19 Workplace Training Scheme is now available online, with industry-specific modules set to be added in the coming weeks.