SMEs urged to keep their teams COVID- and flu-safe through winter

As COVID-19 and flu cases continue to be prevalent within the community, employers are being reminded help increase awareness and understanding of the strategies they need to implement to minimise the risk of their employees catching these viruses.

Only by keeping workplaces COVID- and flu-safe will businesses can continue to move forward with their recovery, and helping limit transmission of viruses in the workplace itself are a key part of the battle.

The NSW Government has developed a a toolkit to help businesses communicate to their staff, customers and suppliers – indeed, any visitors to their workplaces – to promote awareness as to how they can help keep workplaces COVID- and flu-safe.

The Government is also sharing five key recommendations to help businesses reduce the riskin the remaining months of winter:

1. Encourage staff to ensure their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations are up to date, including a booster

Everyone aged 30 and over who had their COVID-19 booster more than three months ago is now eligible for an additional winter booster. And this is even more important for anyone aged 50 or over who hasn’t had their booster, with infection rates predicted to rise in the coming weeks.

2. Ensure staff stay home if they are sick, even with mild symptoms

In order to protect workplaces anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested as soon as possible and, if that test is positive, to inform employers. Anyone who tests positive in NSW can register their rapid antigen test results with Service NSW, thereby receiving the health information.

3. Have a risk assessment plan in place for positive cases, household, and close contacts

While household contacts do not have to self-isolate, they are still at risk of unknowingly having and transmitting COVID-19. Safe Work Australia has updated information and checklists to help businesses with return-to-office plans for both positive cases and close and household contacts.

4. Remind staff it is mandatory to wear a mask when commuting

Whether travelling on public transport, in taxis or rideshares, mask-wearing is mandatory. This is also the case in high-risk settings. The NSW Government are also strongly recommending that masks are worn in all indoor public areas.

5. Create well-ventilated meeting spaces wherever possible

Businesses are being asked to ensure they provide well-ventilated, large spaces for face-to-face meetings, and where possible to encourage virtual, walking or outdoor meetings which run less risk of virus transmission.