Employers have long had a duty of care to minimise or eliminate the risk of harm to employees and contractors in the workplace. Key responsibilities are outlined under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and typically include considerations for physical health, mental health, and psychological health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges for businesses and now employers must minimise or eliminate exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
For the past 18 months, focus has been on suppressing the virus through lockdowns, work from home orders, masks, and social distancing.
But now that the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Australia continues to ramp up, will the vaccine passport and COVID test records be key to reopening the Australian economy? And how can workforce management software help to minimise the significant administrative burden for employers?
Re-opening the local economy safely
Everyone wants to re-open the Australian economy safely. And as we learn more and more about COVID-19, and progress through this pandemic, there could be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccination.
National Cabinet recently announced its 4-phase plan to reopen the nation’s economy, and this plan included specifications about vaccine take-up rates.
Discussions over vaccine passports and mandatory vaccines are getting louder, so there is a lot to unpack. Let’s look at what employers and managers can do to ensure they meet their duty of care and how to keep ‘business as usual’ in terms of customer or client care.
What is your duty of care as an employer during COVID-19?
The primary duty of care under work Health and Safety laws is for employers is to ensure the health and safety of workers. They also must ensure it for others in the workplace. That is, the customers. Safe work Australia recently updated their guidelines on COVID-19 responsibilities for employers.
In the past, the guidelines have also outlined employers can be responsible for “monitoring staff to prevent illness” that could impede business conduct. Does this extend to asking workers if they are vaccinated? And does this indicate that before long, vaccinations will make up part of the conditions for a job?
RELATED READING: 3 ways to make COVID-19 contact tracing easy at your workplace
Which Industries have already been affected by public health directions to supply vaccine and testing records?
Many high-risk businesses already have the green light for mandatory staff vaccinations. Quarantine workers, aged care and health care workers being some of the first to come under mandatory rules with each State having varying guidelines and rules.
WA have hotel quarantine staff under public health direction, mandated to get at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Transport, freight and logistics drivers need to present to a COVID clinic for testing within 48 hours of arriving in WA.
In QLD, people working in quarantine hotels must have had their first dose of the vaccine and staff are tested on every shift for COVID-19.
In NSW, it is now mandatory for designated airport workers, quarantine facility workers and transport providers to be vaccinated, before entering or providing services at a quarantine facility or airport or providing transportation services.
The Federal Government has mandated the COVID vaccine for residential aged care workers.
As the rest of the population wait for eligibility and then a time slot, some Australian businesses are exploring the conditions in which they can mandate vaccines, or at least record how many staff are vaccinated.
How workforce management software can improve COVID-19 safety and reduce the administrative burden
It’s time to embrace your workforce management software.
Organisations have already been managing the annual flu vaccination documentation from within Rapid’s workforce management system and now COVID-19 documentation is likely to become part of the endless responsibilities that lie with the WHS and Compliance Managers.
Technology can make it all quite simple and reduce the time spent managing records. Let’s look at the ways you can make life easier with a fully integrated and modular workforce management system like Rapid:
A system like Rapid Access, gives you a major advantage because it can be modified to manage vaccine passports.
Entry forms can be used to screen staff and contractors on arrival to the site for COVID-19 symptoms. When Rapid Access is used in combination with Rapid Induct, known employees and contractors are cross-checked in the system for the status of their vaccine passport.
Finally, Rapid Access can deny entry to anyone without valid documentation.
If your site is using Rapid Induct, you can quickly (and easily) update your site inductions and on-the-job training to reflect the mandatory COVID-19 policies and procedures.
Rapid Induct can also be used to collect and store COVID-19 documentation including vaccine passports, rapid antigen test results, PCR test results, as well as induction, and training certifications. Vaccinated employees and contractors can easily be identified in the system with our new vaccine badge.
It’s also easy to report on immunisation status with the system notifying you of any expiring vaccinations. This means you can keep staff up to date on procedures, update site entry rules, new policies, training, and inductions to meet compliance and Government regulations.
Rapid Contractor Manager
With Rapid Contractor Manager, you can upload and store your company COVID-19 safety policies and pre-qualify your contractor companies before they arrive on the premises. When integrated with Rapid Induct and Rapid Access you can store the individual contractor details, vaccination record and COVID-19 test results.
Rapid Incident Reporting
Using an integrated workforce management system like Rapid Incident Reporting, will allow you to keep on top of compliance reporting such as:
- weekly workforce vaccination status for employees and contractors
- create daily reports of who has entered your site for contract tracing
Get empowered today! Stay ahead of the ever-changing game that COVID-19 keeps bringing. Contact us at Rapid Global, to find out how your business can benefit from innovative workforce management software.