A novel (new) strain of coronavirus is causing a respiratory disease called COVID-19.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a worker or someone who is responsible for workers, you must identify and manage work health and safety risks including the exposure to COVID-19. Businesses should also plan to respond to cases of COVID-19 at work in line with advice provided by Queensland Health.
COVID-19 spreads from person to person in a similar way to the flu:
COVID-19 can cause symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath.
Most people who are infected experience mild illness from which they fully recover. However, some people may develop more serious illness with pneumonia. People at increased risk include the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system.
It is important to remember that most people who become ill with respiratory symptoms at work are likely suffering from a cold, the flu or other respiratory illness – not COVID-19.
Workers and others must self-quarantine if they have:
Workers who need to self-quarantine should notify their employer and stay away from work. They should seek immediate medical attention if they become ill during the quarantine period and call ahead of arriving and mention their travel or contact history.
Employers should make appropriate arrangements so that workers who need to self-quarantine stay away from work. Where possible, the worker should be provided with flexible work arrangements such as working from home.
Visit the Queensland Health website for self-quarantine requirements.
Simple hygiene practices, similar to those used to protect against the flu, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
For businesses where workers are at increased risk from contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 (e.g. healthcare industry), additional infection prevention and control practices are required. Guidance for specific industries is available at www.health.gov.au.
PPE should be worn by:
Surgical masks are helpful in preventing people with COVID-19 from spreading infection to others but are not currently recommended for healthy members of the public.
WorkCover Queensland has produced FAQs for workers, employers, and medical providers on workers’ compensation and COVID-19.