Step 1 - What work can my small business do?

Start by finding out the rules and knowing your WHS duties.

Check what I'm allowed to do

You must follow the public health directions in your state or territory. Check what you are allowed to do for your type of business and make sure you can operate safely under these conditions.

Step 2 - Plan and prepare to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic

Take time to think about new health and safety risks in your business. What could go wrong?

  • Have I done everything I reasonably can to keep people (workers, customers, visitors and myself) at my workplace physically and psychologically safe during the pandemic?
  • Have I consulted with my workers about the risks (new and existing) and how we can address them?
  • Have I talked to the other businesses I work with or share a premises with?
  • Does everyone know what to do if they become unwell (e.g. when to stay away from the workplace) or where to get help when they are having problems (e.g. mental health)?
  • How have I kept myself, workers and customers safe in the past? And how has COVID-19 changed that (Are there any other new or changed risks I need to consider)?
  • Have I trained my workers on new processes and equipment?

What will I do if someone gets COVID-19? What will I do if someone becomes unwell? Have I updated my risk assessment?

Talk to workers 

What do I need to talk to workers about?
(E.g. ways to control risks, staying away when sick, training on new procedures)

Are my staff trained in what they need to do?

Prevent the spread

Distancing – how will I ensure  people can keep physically apart?
Cleaning - How will I clean my workplace?
Hygiene – how do I prevent germs spreading? 

Tell customers & businesses we work with

Have I updated information and let customers know about new arrangements? Have I put signs up about what to do? 

Look out for each other

How will you and your workers take care of each other? How will you let each other know if there's a problem (e.g. reporting)?

Vulnerable people

Are workers or others (e.g. customers and visitors) in my workplace particularly vulnerable

Step 3 - Monitor & review

Don’t set and forget - you must continue to make sure workers are safe and that you keep talking to them.

Keep up to date and follow public health and WHS advice.

Check for new risks

Isolated work & less support

Are staff now working alone or with less support? Are the ways we used to manage safety less effective? How will workers report issues/incidents? How will I proactively check they are ok?

Mental health

Is our work causing stress (or a risk to mental health)? What can we do to reduce the stress?

Physical risks

Do I need to update WHS plans due to to changed processes and work? E.g. plant, chemicals, SWMS.

Are there new risks? E.g. are there risks from misusing personal protective equipment if not trained or of violence or aggression from customers?

For practical support and information on duties under other laws see business.gov.au and the COVIDSafe plan

Can I meet my duties under other laws?

Is there anything else I need to plan for?

  • Have I talked to other business we with work with (e.g. suppliers) about how we can work safely together? Have I talked to other business in our building about keeping shared areas and facilities safe (e.g lifts and bathrooms)?  
  • Can my workers get to work safely? Can I support them to avoid congestion on public transport?
  • Am I able to provide my workers with flexible work arrangements?

Where can I find other WHS information and support?

See the resources and support section for your industry, as well as the state and territory regulator websites:


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