COVID-19 in the workplace – Information for employers and employees

Update 28/04/2022: The information is currently under review in line with the WA Government announcement (external site). Any updates will be found on this website in due course.

Information for employers and employees to prepare for and manage COVID-19 in their workplace, in line with the close contact and isolation protocols under current high caseload settings.

Preparation and COVID-19 prevention

Information for employers

The following strategies will assist in reducing the impact on the workplace should a person with COVID-19 attend your workplace:

  • Have a business continuity plan and/or an outbreak management plan and ensure plans for workforce and supplies are in place to respond to an outbreak with limited additional support.
  • Review the layout of the built environment and whether it is feasible to reduce the use of shared break areas.
  • Consider alternative ways to travel, and encourage social distancing, where possible.
  • Review stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Follow current WA Government mandates for mask requirements to minimise the risk of exposure, and of staff being identified as a close contact. Read guidance for the use of masks (PDF 230KB).
  • Encourage staff to take lunch outside, rather than in lunch rooms.
  • Limit face-to-face meetings and desk sharing, where possible. Where desk-sharing is implemented, encourage staff to wipe down their desk at the end and beginning of their shift.
  • Consider implementing split shifts to separate the workforce into two or more work streams. This may reduce the number of staff who might be identified as close contacts and required to quarantine if a person with COVID-19 attends the workplace. Review work from home policies, where practicable.
  • Have a COVID Safety Plan
  • Promote infection prevention and control principles, including:
  • Keep physical distance
    • Avoid all physical contact with the case or close contact (including touching, kissing, hugging and intimate contact).
    • Stay and sleep in a separate room
    • Use a separate bathroom if available, or clean a shared bathroom after use.
    • Do not be in the same room as the case or close contact.
    • Do not use shared living spaces, such as the kitchen or loungeroom.
    • Do not share household items, including dishes, cups, towels and bedding (after using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap).
    • Have meals delivered to outside the room of the case or close contact, who must wait until the person walks away before opening the door to collect the meals.
  • Optimise ventilation and filtration in the workplace – see information on COVID-19 and building ventilation and information on COVID-19 and air purifiers/cleaners.
  • Promote COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible staff and contractors.
If a staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms

If a staff member develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or loss of taste and/or smell) they should:

Positive COVID-19 case in the workplace

Guidance for the management of COVID-19 in the workplace provides more detailed information and a step-by-step guide to assist workplaces with contact tracing. Actions that should be undertaken are summarised below:

  • A business or employer might be notified that someone who has attended the workplace has tested positive for COVID-19 by the person who tested positive, or by WA Health.
  • Businesses should take reasonable steps to identify and inform other workers who may have been exposed to a case while at work and advise them of their testing and quarantine requirements.
  • Privacy and confidentiality of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 must always be maintained. The employer cannot disclose the identity of the case to other employees, unless the person gives them permission to do so.
  • There are very few circumstances where workplaces may need to temporarily close if a COVID-19 positive person has attended the workplace during their infectious period. This will be determined by whether all potential contacts have been identified, and whether a risk assessment has been done to determine if there are enough staff for operations to continue safely.
  • All areas accessed by a COVID-19 positive worker during their infectious period should be cleaned and disinfected, with attention to high touch surfaces.

Advice for specific industries and settings

Useful information

Talking to employees about COVID-19
  • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms and encourage staff to stay home if unwell and get tested.
  • Be aware of the different support service providers you can share with an employee who is isolating or anxious.
  • Advise employee to call 13 COVID (13 268 43) for information on a range of individual issues and queries, including welfare services.
Frequently Asked Questions

I have COVID-19. Can I get written evidence of the positive test result to show my employer/workplace?

No, employers should not rely on written evidence from their employee that they are a case. This is not something the Department of Health (WA Health) will issue.

You can use the SMS result as evidence of a positive PCR test or photographic evidence of a positive RAT result.

You may also be able to access your test result through your My Health Record.

Workplace management of cases and close contacts should align with the TTIQ (Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine) Plan.

I manage a business and I am required to undertake contact tracing to identify close contacts of a COVID-19 positive employee. Can I request SafeWA check-in data to assist this process?

No, you cannot request SafeWA check-in data. Businesses, facilities and service providers are required to play a more involved role in managing communications in their workplaces. Staff, customers/clients and other visitors should be wearing masks, which should limit the number of close contacts in the workplace.

See:

Last reviewed: 22-04-2022