Health and safety in the workplace

Published 31 March 2020 | Updated 24 March 2021

We all need to do our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To do this, employers and workers need to follow the rules about health and safety in the workplace.

Workplace health and safety resources

There are many organisations that can help you with information and resources about workplace health and safety. We’ve included some helpful links below.

National

States and territories

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Work-related travel during coronavirus

Some states and territories are restricting domestic travel, including by closing state borders and implementing extra quarantine requirements.

Find out more about restrictions in your state or territory:

Directing employees not to travel

Employers can direct employees not to undertake work-related travel if this is:

  • needed to meet workplace health and safety obligations
  • otherwise a lawful and reasonable direction.

Employers can’t direct an employee to not undertake private travel.

Travel advice during coronavirus

Smartraveller external-icon.png has information and advice about current international travel restrictions during coronavirus.

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Safe Work Australia  online toolkit

Safe Work Australia has an online toolkit for businesses and workers on how to stay safe from coronavirus. The website provides a detailed guide on work health and safety for many industries. Go to the Safe Work Australia website: COVID-19 Information for workplaces external-icon.png.

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COVIDSafe app

The COVIDSafe app helps state and territory health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to coronavirus.

Downloading and using the COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Employers can't:

  • make current or future employees download or use the app
  • make downloading or using the app a condition of employment, or
  • make downloading or using the app a condition of the employee entering the workplace or doing their work.

Employers can’t refuse to provide or receive goods or services to or from a person because they’re not using the app.

Employees have workplace rights that protect them from adverse action in these circumstances. For example, employers can’t fire an employee or change their job, because an employee refuses to download or use the app, or refuses to upload data from the app to the National Data Store.

Read more about adverse action on our Protections at work page. Criminal offences could also apply.

More information:

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Beyond Blue  Mental health support

Beyond Blue has a dedicated coronavirus website external-icon.png and a 24-hour phone counselling service to help Australians during coronavirus.

The website includes a range of helpful advice, including:

  • coping with isolation
  • managing your mental health if you have coronavirus
  • ways to deal with job loss and financial worries
  • coping as a healthcare worker
  • support for essential service workers and small businesses.

The 24-hour counselling hotline has trained mental health professionals who provide free, one-on-one confidential sessions. You can call the hotline on 1800 512 348.

Beyond Blue also has information to help small business owners and managers support their employees, and manage their own mental health during this time. Find out:

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