Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 news from WHA
Work Healthy Australia is committed to helping you get through these most unprecedented times.
Bookmark this page to see our regular updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, how we’re keeping our staff, patients and clients safe. We’ll also be sharing helpful information regarding employer obligations and OHS requirements in this changing landscape.
COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020
Victorian Parliament passed a temporary amendment to the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
The Act requires that workers be given 13 weeks notice before WorkCover payments cease (provided they are still incapacitated and unable to return to pre-injury duties).
The COVID-19 Omnibus Bill (passed on 24/4/2020) has extended the 13 week notice period to 39 weeks and can be backdated for those who received notice that payments would cease from 1st December 2019.
These temporary measures will be in effect until 1st June 2020.
Read the Acts here:
Health & Wellbeing when Working from Home
Whether your employees are working from home, or have continued to maintain their regular working schedule, now is a great time to remind your team to look after themselves.
We’ve previously shared some resources to help you support your workers’ mental health in these challenging times, and we thought it would be handy to also share some other practical tips about staying healthy when working from home, as well as some diet and hydration facts.
Click on the images below to access some helpful resources to share with your team.
If your business needs assistance with Virtual Ergonomics & Risk Assessments for employees working from home please reply to this email, or give the office a call on 1300 734 643.
Minimising stress & anxiety in uncertain times
With recent announcements about lock-downs, shut-downs and restrictions, it goes without saying that the past few weeks have brought with them a level of stress and anxiety for a lot of people.
Whatever your situation, I think we can agree that we find ourselves interacting with our staff, colleagues, friends and families in a very different way than we were a couple of months ago!
People remaining at work may be feeling the pressure of an increase in workload, or feelings of loneliness and isolation if working from home. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, and employers must continue to do what they can to minimise the psychological risks to workers under the model WHS laws.
What can employers do to minimise stress at this time?
- Keep employees up-to-date with any changes happening in your business to deal with the current situation, daily if possible.
- Be well informed, communicate and only share advice from credible sources (for example: Department of Health, World Health Organisation)
Support your staff
- Provide workers with a central point of contact if they have any questions or concerns.
- Ensure your workers know who your EAP provider is and send regular reminders to utilise this service if needed.
- Share resources and information from other support services such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Head to Health.
Continuity of Care
Our physical and psychological health are closely linked.
- If a worker has been undergoing regular treatment for a physical injury, it’s important that they continue to receive support.
- In addition, if a worker sustains a physical injury, this must be assessed and treated as soon as possible.
CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD TO LEARN HOW WHA’S VIRTUAL SERVICES CAN HELP TO SUPPORT THE MENTAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKERS
Virtual Health Services
Frequently Asked Questions
What measures are WHA putting in place to prevent the spread?
Our Health Providers complete a health declaration every day, and if they are feeling unwell in any way, they are asked to stay home.
All of our providers have up-to-date training in Hygiene and Infection Control. Hands and equipment are thoroughly cleaned before seeing any patients, along with any other common surfaces in our treatment room.
We are also offering flexible scheduling for our clients still utilising our onsite services, limiting the number of providers servicing their site, or allocating a dedicated provider for their business.
In the event that we are not visiting patients physically/onsite, we have deployed a comprehensive virtual consultation service that allows us to assess and treat workers without direct contact.
What can you do to protect your employees and your business?
Implement a daily health declaration for any staff entering the premises, ensuring anyone who is feeling unwell stays home. Enforce hygiene standards to the highest level, and provide training in correct hand-washing techniques as well as safe coughing/sneezing practices.
Conduct regular inspections and audits on PPE, hygiene and work-station cleanliness.
Follow social distancing guidelines, and if possible, have as many staff as possible working from home.
If staff are to remain onsite, consider splitting shifts into AM and PM, allowing time in between for thorough cleaning of all surfaces and equipment.
OHS obligations and Risk Management
Your OHS obligations haven’t changed. Employers still have a duty of care for the health and safety of their workers and others at their workplace. These laws still apply if an employee is required to work at home.
If you have people working from home, it is recommended that you take the time to ensure employees are aware of your Work from Home policy, complete a WHS checklist for their home work-space, and also receive an Ergonomic & Risk Assessment via our virtual services.
How can we ensure people working from home are staying safe?
By checking-in regularly via phone, video chat or email, you can monitor the health & wellbeing of your at-home workforce.
Ensure you are communicating and actively encouraging workers to take regular breaks, stretch and move their bodies, remain properly hydrated, and continue to practice healthy eating habits whilst at home.
What kind of services can we deliver virtually that are usually delivered onsite?
Via our virtual platform we can continue to deliver most of the services we currently delivery onsite. This includes:
- Early Intervention Injury Triage & Management
- Rehabilitation Programs
- Stretching & Exercise Recommendations
- Sharing self-care resources
- Ergonomic & Risk Assessments
- Screening new starters
How do we screen people returning to work after self-isolation?
It is important to note that clearance for return to work after a period of self-isolation isn’t currently a legal requirement, however, we highly recommend implementing this as a business requirement to ensure employees are safe to return to work.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered, and WHA’s Health Providers follow a strict process to ensure employees have fully satisfied the requirements of self-isolation, and pose no risk of transmitting COVID-19 to your workforce.
Are Allied Health Professionals classed as an essential service?
It’s important to note that Work Healthy Australia does not operate as a private allied health clinic.
Restrictions are not currently in place, however, if this were to happen it is likely to only apply to private clinics, open to the general public, where the risk of infection is much higher.
WHA providers are, in most cases, currently restricted to servicing one client only, further reducing the risk of transmission. We also have some strict policies in place to limit their movements, as a further safe-guard against infection.
CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS REGARDING VIRTUAL HEALTH SERVICES
Working From Home
Ergonomic & Risk Assessments
With the latest stage of announced restrictions, many businesses are now instructing workers to remain home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If you are allowing your employees to work remotely, you remain responsible for their health and wellbeing whilst working from home.
What you need to know if you have employees working from home…
While your worker may not be physically present in the workplace, your business may still be liable for any injuries that are aggravated by, or sustained whilst an employee is working from home.
How can I ensure my employees are safe when working from home?
All businesses should have a Working from Home Policy in place. Any employee who has been asked, or has requested to work from home should also complete a Work Health & Safety Checklist.
In addition to the Work Health & Safety Checklist, Ergonomic Risk Assessments should be conducted on the home-office space to identify and correct any potential health or injury hazards.
Work Healthy Australia can deliver Ergonomic and Risk Assessments via our Virtual Health platform, ensuring your workers remain safe and healthy whilst working from home.
CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE ASSISTANCE WITH WORK FROM HOME POLICY AND HEALTH & SAFETY CHECKLIST TEMPLATES
Further information and resources:
WorkSafe Victoria: Minimising the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19): Working from home
Comcare: Coronavirus Information Resources
For the past 20 years, Work Healthy Australia has been delivering onsite injury treatment, health & ergonomics assessments, injury rehabilitation plans and training.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, it’s now even more important that we continue to support our clients and patients through this unprecedented situation.
Why? Put simply, workplace injuries aren’t going to go away. People are still going to hurt themselves at work, and those who are already carrying an injury are at risk of it worsening.
Employers still have an obligation to monitor the health and wellbeing of their workforce, ensuring access to care is readily available.
With the introduction of our Virtual Consultation Services, we are now able to ensure continuity of care for our patients, triage and manage any new injuries, while also offering ongoing support & resources to our valued clients.
“The new offering will reduce the stress on the medical system. GPs are currently overwhelmed, and a potential health risk. We can reach people at work or at home with no risk. Patients will be able to get back to work sooner”
CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS USING VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Returning to work after self-isolation
With the Australian medical system under immense pressure and an increased risk of transmission in public places, we believe that offering this via an online consultation is the safest method of delivery.
It is important to note that clearance for return to work after a period of self-isolation isn’t currently a legal requirement, however, we know that some of our clients are making this a business requirement in order to ensure the health and safety of their workforce.
Our team of experienced Allied Health Professionals are well placed to assist with the screening of workers after a period of self-isolation.
How does it work?
The employee will join a private and secure online service using a dedicated link (in line with AHPRA privacy guidelines).
An allied health professional will ask a series of questions and conduct a visual examination of the patient to determine if they are fit to return to work.
WHA providers have a thorough understanding of the information and guidelines set out by the Australian Government Department of Health.
Our team will ensure staff returning to work have complied with the requirements of self-isolation and are clear from known risk factors, clinical signs and symptoms of COVID-19. When appropriate, workers may be referred to the Public Health Unit and/or Coronavirus Health Information Line.
CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS USING WHA’S VIRTUAL CLEARANCE ASSESSMENT SERVICE
Work Healthy Australia recognises the importance of continuity of care for your injured workers, as well as the potentially heightened risk of Workers Compensation claims if these workers are unable to access ongoing care.
We want to ensure that we are able to provide a high level of care for patients with open care plans, while continuing to provide early intervention injury management, self-treatment instructions and health advice for those workers who are most at risk.
To address this, WHA has fast-tracked the development of our
VIRTUAL CONSULTATION SERVICES
Employers have a duty of care to monitor the health and wellbeing of their workers.
By continuing to support workers with a virtual alternative to hands-on treatment, you can substantially reduce the risk of injuries worsening or progressing to compensation claims.
Now, more than ever, it is important to address our workers with a consistent, reassuring message, particularly when it comes to managing workplace injuries and health concerns.
Workers who need to take time off
If there is little or no leave available to a worker and they need to take time off while they are receiving care for a work-related injury, there is a chance that they may turn to the Workers Compensation system.
Receiving ongoing, consistent care from your dedicated Work Healthy Australia Health Provider can reduce this risk.
When workers are feeling stressed
Many workers are now facing an increase in workload or a potential reduction in income as a direct result of the recent recommendations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is, without a doubt, having an impact on everyone’s stress levels.
During times of high stress (personal or work-related) we often see an increase in secondary stress claims in addition to a primary work-related musculoskeletal injury claim. Considering our current situation, there is now also an increased risk of stress claims.
CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS USING VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS