By: Amanda Douglas
With the announcement that New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3 on 28 April 2020, many businesses are asking what they need to do to prepare for a return to the workplace.  

Health and safety planning will be needed to ensure that effective COVID-19 controls are in place and that the health and safety of workers, and other people, is not put at risk.
Some key controls to minimise the risk of passing on the COVID-19 virus at work include:
  • supporting people with flu-like symptoms to self-isolate;
  • ensuring separation distances;
  • disinfecting surfaces;
  • maintaining good hygiene, particularly hand hygiene and good cough/sneeze etiquette;
  • keeping records to facilitate contact tracing.
Before you go back to work, businesses should develop a plan for working safely. For those who can return at Alert Level 3, you should be working on this now.  For those who need to wait a bit longer to return to the workplace, you should also start your preparation and planning now so that you can discuss and share the plan with others, such as workers, contractors, and suppliers, before the work starts. 

Your plan will serve as a record of how you will minimise the risk of COVID-19 appropriately, and will demonstrate that your business can continue to operate safely. You should review and update your plan on an ongoing basis.

The types of things that you will need to consider range from risks from restarting your business after lockdown, to keeping workers safe from COVID-19, to managing any exposure to COVID-19. Industry guidance should also be incorporated into this.

Once you have developed your plan, you need to ensure that your workers are aware of it so that your planning is effective.
 
For assistance with your health and safety obligations, feel free to contact Amanda Douglas, Partner,  Amanda.douglas@wynnwilliams.co.nz or 021885585 or 03 3530241

Wynn Williams is a member of SCG Legal, a global network of more than 110 independent law firms with both legal and public policy practices serving businesses in all 50 U.S. state capital cities and the District of Columbia, as well as capital cities and major commercial centers in more than 50 countries. SCG Legal has developed a COVID-19 Global Resource Center, which is focused on up-to-date legal and public policy developments from more than 25 different countries and most U.S. States. To access it, visit scglegal.com/coronavirus-resources.
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