14 October, 2022
The South Australian Government has announced that, as of 14 October 2022, an individual who tests positive for COVID will no longer be legally required to isolate (other than certain health settings).
This EMA Note briefly discusses what this means for your business.
SA Health published a media release on 13 October 2022 which includes a summary of the relevant information, including that:
(a) from 14 October 2022, there will no longer be a legal requirement to isolate for South Australians who test positive for COVID-19;
(b) getting tested and taking appropriate precautions (including mask wearing) is still important and recommended; and
(c) there will still be some requirements in place for health settings.
SA Health also stated that businesses and employers should consider their own policies in terms of their work health and safety obligations.
Employers in the health, disability, and aged care settings will need to confirm what continuing obligations may apply to them.
The changes to public health and emergency management directions do not, in themselves, vary the obligations of a person conducting a business or undertaking under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) (“WHS Act”). That is, a PCBU must still take steps, so far as is reasonably practicable, to manage risks to health and safety.
Employers who have current policies designed to manage the risks of COVID-19 should review that policy in consideration of current SA Health recommendations, current health information, and the current circumstances of that business. Policies which refer (or defer) to public health orders, outside of the relevant health settings, will likely need to be amended given the announced changes.
Employers who do not have a current policy designed to manage the risks of COVID-19 must consider whether COVID-19 poses a work health and safety hazard, and if so, what measures are reasonably practicable to manage the risks caused by COVID-19. Depending on that assessment, the employer will need to decide whether a policy or procedure is necessary to set out the relevant information.
Employer’s must comply with their consultation obligations under the WHS Act. Consultation obligations arise under the WHS Act in relation various health and safety matters, which includes decision making about eliminating or minimising health and safety risks and when proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of workers. Therefore, if looking to introduce or change a policy in relation to managing any risk created by COVID-19, employers will need to ensure that they first consult with their workers.
This EMA Note is not comprehensive advice about your situation and does not cover all your obligations. If you require further information or advice, please contact your Consultant.
Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) s 49.
EMA Consulting is not a law firm and therefore does not provide legal advice or services. The information contained within this document and associated material is general in nature and should not be relied upon. If you require specific advice on a particular matter, we recommend that you contact EMA Consulting on 08 8203 1700. Subject to the matter at hand, your EMAC Consultant may recommend that you obtain formal legal advice. If formal legal advice is required, upon your written instruction EMAC will brief your matter to a legal practitioner for this purpose. The contents of this document and associated materials do not represent legal advice.