From Friday 14 October 2022, it is no longer mandatory to isolate if you test positive to COVID-19.
The removal of mandatory isolation does not impact on the duties of an employer to do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise the risks of COVID-19 at the workplace, including asking workers to stay at home when unwell.
Information on these pages is currently being reviewed and will be updated shortly.
This page includes resources for workplaces in the Food processing and manufacturing industries on work health and safety, workers’ compensation and COVID-19.
The Food processing industry turns agricultural and other substances into foods.
This may include:
- meat and meat product manufacturing
- seafood processing
- dairy product manufacturing
- fruit and vegetable processing
- oil and fat manufacturing
- grain mill and cereal product manufacturing
- bakery product manufacturing
- sugar and confectionery manufacturing, and
- other food product manufacturing.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) notes that meat processing facilities carry particular risks of COVID-19 transmission due to:
- environmental conditions (e.g. cold and damp environment), and
- tasks that require workers to be in close proximity, e.g. at workstations and on processing lines.
The Manufacturing industry is mainly engaged in the physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products. This also includes the assembly of component parts of manufactured products, either self-produced or purchased.
This may include:
- food and beverage
- textiles, leather, clothing and footwear
- wood products
- pulp and paper
- chemicals including cleaning products, toiletries and cosmetics
- metals and plastics
- machinery and equipment, and
Workplaces may include:
- plants, factories and mills, and
- other processing and manufacturing facilities.
These workplaces typically use power-driven machines and other materials-handling equipment, as well as hand tools. The nature of work at these workplaces may also require the use of personal protective equipment by workers in normal operations.
To ensure this information is as accessible and easy to understand as possible, we refer to ‘employers’ and their responsibilities.
However, under the model WHS laws, duties apply to any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) which includes employers, but also others who engage workers. For more information about who is a PCBU see our Interpretive Guideline – model Work Health and Safety Act – the meaning of ‘person conducting a business or undertaking'.
The model WHS laws have been implemented in all jurisdictions except Victoria.
Safe Work Australia does not regulate or enforce WHS laws or the recently introduced COVID-19 restrictions on business operations. If you want to know how WHS laws apply to you or need help with what to do at your workplace, contact the WHS regulator in your jurisdiction. If you want to know what restrictions on business operations apply to you or your workplace, go to your relevant state and territory government website for information.