Australia acted quickly putting in COVID-19 restrictions on all businesses at the end of March. 

Many Australians are saying, I need to go back to work. Read on to learn how to safely reopen your business in Australia. Explore policies and procedures to help you return to work while maintaining employee safety.

What Is the Current Situation?

Australia has taken a gradual approach to reopening the country. At the moment, several facets of the economy and society are beginning to open.

For example, retailers were allowed to re-open during the first week of May. The following week, schools were reopened.

In addition, citizens are advised not to wear face masks in public. The only exception to that rule is if they are feeling sick.

Currently, Australia is in phase three of its plan to return to normal. This phase places limits on social gatherings. Some businesses are allowed to open with limitations in place.

Restaurants, for instance, can now host up to 53 patrons as long as they maintain social distancing. Hair salons and other personal care providers can open.

However, they must follow the government’s guidance on contact tracing. This is the process of documenting human contact and notifying people if they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

With contact tracing, Australian citizens can self-quarantine if they are exposed. This limits the ability of the virus to spread to others. Contact tracing is an important facet of any industrial plan to bring employees back to work.

What Is Next?

In the final phase, all business types are allowed to open. The government hopes at this point that all Australian workers are back.

Additionally, interstate travel can resume with concurrence from the individual states. There also may be limited international travel between partner nations like New Zealand.

How Should Your Business Prepare to Reopen?

The safety of your employees should be your most important concern. Here are a few effective strategies that employers are implementing to protect their workers:

Maximize Telework

Your business can comply with capacity restrictions by maximizing telework. You should review your employee roster and designate which employees can work from home.

Telework is effective for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it reduces the risk of virus exposure for your employees.

It also makes it easier for your employees and customers to maintain social distancing. Lastly, telework reduces the burden of contact tracing as your employees and customers are exposed to fewer people.


Many employers are hiring third party services to decontaminate their workplace. This is a great way to protect your employees and customers from virus spread.

The way it works is that field service representatives and experienced technical support perform a site survey. Then, they design and implement a plan to decontaminate your workplace.

The analysis goes far beyond the existing COVID-19 threat. Our experts perform a comprehensive analysis of environmental health and safety at the workplace. This analysis includes regulatory compliance and risk mitigation for all biohazards.

Updated Policies and Procedures

You need to communicate to your employees what to do in the event that they feel sick. Your workforce needs to understand not to come into work.

Keeping your employees’ safe starts with training and communication. They need to know the symptoms of COVID-19. If they have a fever, for example, they should not report to work.

Instead, they should seek out a COVID-19 test. They can return to work if the test returns negative. Employees can also self-quarantine for 14 days and only return in the absence of coronavirus symptoms.

There are also a number of hygienic procedures to implement. Employees should be reminded to frequently wash their hands for 20 seconds or more. In addition, get proactive and install hand disinfectant stations throughout the industrial centre.

Incremental Return

Like the rest of the nation, you should not bring all of your employees back to work at once. Instead, bring back a proportion of the workforce over two to four-week increments.

Start by reviewing the employee roster and see which employees are most critical to operations. Also, consider whether or not they can perform their duties remotely or not.

Now that you have decided which employees to bring back, it is time to execute your plan. If you have no new COVID-19 cases in the workplace, you can bring another percentage of the workforce back.

Another effective strategy is to split workers into separate shifts. This also limits the number of people at work and helps maintain social distancing.

I Need to Go Back to Work – a Recap

The vast majority of Australians are eager to return to work. The country has done a great job mitigating the coronavirus.

To prevent a second wave, returning to work must be done with an emphasis on employee safety. Taking steps like decontamination go a long way. If you are asking the question "I need to go back to work," contact us today for expert guidance.

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This publication is not intended to offer legal advice or client-specific risk management advice. General descriptions contained herein do not include complete definitions, terms, and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for claims management interpretation. Actual claims and risk management policies must always be consulted for full coverage details and analysis.

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