March 13, 2020
It is typical for business interruption insurance policies to exclude cover for any diseases that are declared a notifiable or ‘quarantinable’ disease under relevant Commonwealth legislation, which is in fact the case for COVID-19. This reason for this is that there would not be sufficient global funds held by insurers to meet the exposure. As such, health care providers should make necessary updates to procedures based on evolving health authority requirements. Providers should update employees, provide ongoing training, and regularly review and test pandemic response plans and infection control protocols.
On Wednesday, The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 aglobal pandemic and we are now seeing the extent of disruption, across workforces,
supply chains and economic activity. With no current end in sight, it is imperative that prudent organisations review and update their business continuity plans to
ensure operational resiliency.
Actions all business can take in regards to employee management and duty of care:
Prepare for a work-from-home strategy:
Consider flexible working arrangements to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace or the community, where possible i.e. head office functions
Guarantee all telecoms and IT software and hardware have been tested for remote access and operational resiliency.
Prepare a recovery plan for all operations as new challenges will arise from the unknown of a pandemic crisis.
Employment Management in the workplace:
Update policies on fitness for work including possible quarantining of employees and formalising the requirement for employees to remain off work if affected.
Assess the reliance on the management team and structure operations to limit the risk of all leadership staff becoming infected. Focusing on communication in the work environment where transmission of respiration illness can be prevalent.
Update international and domestic travel rules and arrangements for limiting non-essential business travel.
Review arrangements for workplace hygiene and cleaning protocols including “cough and sneeze etiquette”.
Protect the mental wellbeing of employees concerned about the corona-virus.
Ensure a process is in place to protect residents, families, employees and visitors,
Reminders to please regularly wash your hands, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms and not to visit any aged care home if
you are unwell.
Assess non-crucial meetings and explore other forms of communication such as an online seminar or conference call.
We suggest that all key members of staff are vigilant in reviewing the evolving updates. For reference, we have included links to relevant authorities that may be used as a source of information:
World Health Organisation: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Australian Government, Department of Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Safe Work Australia
Australian Government, Department of Health
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