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Premier at Odds With Worksafe Covid Guidance

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 14 October 2022

Tags: COVID-19, Health, WorkSafe

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Correspondence from WorkSafe Tasmania in response to a letter from the Greens makes it clear the Covid pandemic, and responsibilities for businesses, are not over. While the mandatory Covid isolation period ends today, Worksafe’s advice to businesses is that employees who test positive with Covid or display any respiratory symptoms should stay home.

As Premier Rockliff moves to downgrade our treatment of Covid to being like “other respiratory illnesses like the flu”, it is clear Tasmania’s workplace health and safety laws hold employers to a much higher standard.

Worksafe’s updated advice to businesses, requires measures such as physical distancing, density limits, working from home, mask wearing, hygiene, cleaning, vaccinations and ventilation.

Worksafe recommends businesses consider a whole raft of measures to keep their workplace safe given the poor public health decision to remove mandatory isolation. These include –

  1. Staying home until acute symptoms have resolved;
  2. Not attending residential aged or disability care facilities or hospitals, as workers or visitors, for at least seven days after their positive result;
  3. Avoiding large gatherings and indoor crowded places for at least seven days;
  4. Informing Public Health of a positive result and if a rapid antigen test (RAT) was used;
  5. Advising the workplace about their positive result and following any workplace policy that may be in place for the return to work of Covid cases and close contacts;
  6. If the worker must attend the workplace, wearing a mask when indoors and on public transport;
  7. Workers who have respiratory symptoms, even if testing negative for Covid, should remain at home until their symptoms have mostly resolved as it is likely they may have another infectious illness.

Premier Rockliff needs to get real, and acknowledge that Covid is not ‘like the flu’  or ‘gastro’. Our work health and safety laws are designed to protect employees from real risk, and don’t allow for his Covid denialism.

The Premier needs to ensure his public communications back the recommendations of Worksafe to businesses, and don’t send mixed messages to employers and the community. This would only serve to undermine vital education by Worksafe reminding employers of their obligations under the work health and safety legislation.