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Some business operations are restricted under state or territory government public health directions. If you want to know what restrictions on business operations apply to your workplace, go to your state or territory government website.
You can also go to our Public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to enforceable government directions.
Businesses must only operate to the extent permissible in each state and territory. The information provided below outlines measures which cover all aspects of services offered by the industry – depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant to your business. You should check any relevant advice from your state or territory regarding working from home in response to COVID-19.
Safe Work Australia does not regulate or enforce WHS laws or 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.
Safe Work Australia has developed this small business hub with tailored guidance for small businesses to help you understand your work health and safety duties and manage risks arising from COVID-19.
Duties under WHS laws
The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws require you to take care of the health, safety and welfare of your workers, including you, your staff, contractors and volunteers, and others at your workplace.
Read more about your duties under WHS laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A COVID-19 work health and safety risk assessment is an essential step for small businesses. You must assess the risks associated with exposure to COVID-19 and implement control measures to manage those risks.
Watch the video for information or read more about COVID-19 risk assessments for small business.
See our full playlist of videos to help your small business through the COVID-19 pandemic.
For information about your obligations under the model WHS laws and how these relate to COVID-19 vaccines, go to the 5 things to know about your WHS duties and COVID-19 vaccines fact sheet.
A tool outlining key steps and considerations when operating your small business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Go to the COVID-19 Small business planning tool.
WHS guidance for COVID-19 is available for over 30 different industries on key topics such as duties under WHS laws, physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene. Go to the COVID-19 WHS industry guidance.
COVID-19 resource kit
A range of resources are available for you download and use in your workplace including posters and signage, checklists, templates and infographics. Go to the COVID-19 resource kit.
Information in your language
Translated information about COVID-19 and work health and safety is available on the COVID-19 In language website.
WHS laws apply to managing risks to psychological (mental) health too. Go to information on Mental health and COVID-19.
The Australian Government has established the My Business Health website to help small business owners and sole traders, it includes mental health support.
The website Ahead for business also provides help for small business owners and those that support them.
Resources for small business
The ACT Government COVID-19 website is the central hub for the latest information on COVID-19. It also has industry-specific information and resources relevant to local businesses supported by the Economic Survival Package.
For ACT businesses who have questions or need advice about COVID-19, two dedicated phone support services are available:
- Access Canberra business liaison line: 6205 0900 offering advice about how to operate a COVID safe business
- Canberra business advice and support service: 6297 3121 for tailored advice for ACT businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The WorkSafe ACT website contains information about an employer’s work health and safety obligations relating to COVID-19. This includes information about:
ACT businesses can also email Worksafe ACT at WorkSafe@act.gov.au
For the latest information and updates about COVID-19 in the Northern Territory, visit the NT COVID-19 website.
NT WorkSafe also offers a small business safety program which is designed to assist small businesses to understand and comply with their work health and safety obligations.
The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) has a dedicated COVID-19 advice page that provides a variety of resources for small businesses and their workers on how to manage COVID-19 and associated risks in the workplace including guidance on developing a COVID-19 specific management plan.
OIR also has the following resources available for small businesses:
- The Injury Prevention and Management program (IPaM) is a tailored WHS service that provides a dedicated Advisor to assist small businesses implement the foundations of a strong safety management system including advice on control for COVID-19 for the unique circumstances of each business.
- The Safety Fundamentals toolkit provides small businesses with a free, self-directed WHS systems assessment and improvement tools and templates that can be used in the workplace to manage key aspects of a small business’ WHS management system.
Other resources for Queensland businesses include:
South Australia has a number of resources for businesses operating during COVID-19:
For health-related advice:
WorkSafe Tasmania provides information as well as an Advisory Service on COVID-19 workplace safety. You can access the information on the Worksafe Tasmania website or by contacting WorkSafe on 1300 366 322 for further information or to book a workplace visit with an Adviser.
Business Tasmania provides COVID-19 Information for businesses on support, grants and loans. For more information call 1800 440 026 or email email@example.com
The Checkin website, operated by the Mental Health Council of Tasmania provides information and advice on mental wellbeing.
WorkSafe Victoria contains a range of guidance and information to support industries preventing exposure in the workplace during COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus Victoria contains information for business grants and support, guidance on how to keep workplaces safe and information on restrictions for industry sectors.
Business Victoria contains a range of advice, information and resources on restrictions and support to help workplaces plan and respond to coronavirus
Visit the business tools and information page on the Western Australian COVID-19 website.
WorkSafe WA also has information for businesses operating during COVID-19 including industry specific information, looking after your mental health, what to do if a worker has COVID-19 and frequently asked questions.