Guidance for developing COVID Safe Industry Plans
Developed by industry for industry
The purpose of the COVID Safe Industry Plan is to help businesses in your industry show public health authorities andthe community that they operate safely in hosting more patrons on their premises than outlined in the relevant Stage of Queensland’s Roadmap to Easing Restrictions (the Roadmap).
The following information is to help industry bodies develop and submit a COVID Safe Industry Plan, as well as providing insight into the content that will be assessed when Queensland Health approves the plan.
Developing a COVID Safe Industry Plan
There is no official template for the plan, the format can be determined by industry whilst following the guidance below. Areas for consideration (but not limited to) in your best practice guidelines should include (including relationship to maintaining hygiene and physical distancing):
- defined scope of what type of businesses will form part of the industry plan
- date of plan, version number, enquiry contact details
- best practice guidelines
- how to conduct business
- conditions of entry
- customer interaction, including contact tracing obligations
- completing service and payment
- managing communal facilities and spaces
- managing egress and emergency evacuation
- staff practices, including work health and safety
- how the Queensland Chief Health Officer’s public health directions apply to your industry
- review and risk management
- signage, FAQs
- other supporting guidance, e.g. external references/links.
Industry bodies and associations are encouraged to collaborate to develop one plan for an industry, in consultation with the Queensland Government. You should work with other industry stakeholders including relevant unions and workers within your industry as part of this collaboration.
Consultation with relevant unions, workers and groups within your industry is also required when developing a COVID Safe Industry Plan. Evidence of consultation must be included when submitting to Queensland Health for approval.
Things to consider:
- Each business is unique. No public health direction or COVID Safe Industry Plan will be able to provide specific instruction on every possible scenario.
- Some large organisations in your industry may already have internal COVID-19 plans for their businesses. These organisations need to ensure their individual plans are consistent with the COVID Safe Industry Plan to ensure best practice.
- Some businesses will have a diverse range of functions. For example, RSLs operate both pubs and clubs at the same site. If this applies to businesses within your industry, then your COVID Safe Industry Plan should contain information that covers all the permitted activities under Queensland’s public health directions.
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should include a checklist for businesses in your industry to follow, so they easily know how to keep their workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. Checklists should include (but are not limited to):
- requirements for keeping workers safe
- requirements for social distancing - identify how they can implement social distancing measures in compliance with Queensland’s public health directions
- requirements for keeping their workplace clean to stop the spread of COVID-19
- requirements for workers and patrons’ health and hygiene.
Safe Work Australia has published example checklists which you can use to help write your industry’s checklist.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has also published a guide for businesses, which will help explain to businesses in your industry what their duties and obligations are under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in response to COVID-19.
To help businesses be safe, think about how to apply the hierarchy of controls under the work health and safety legislative framework. This means thinking of ways to stop a hazard from happening, as well as how to respond to the hazard if it happens. The following table shows some examples you could include.
Table 1 – Example controls and processes for hazards
Best practice guidelines
To help businesses understand the checklists you have written for them, your COVID Safe Industry Plan should provide businesses with best practice guidelines, tailored to your industry.
The following list highlights areas your plan should refer to. The list is not exhaustive and will need to be tailored to your industry. It is about showing all the ways a business in your industry can operate at a higher standard than the minimum requirements under Queensland’s public heath directions:
This section should prescribe specific measures a business should put in place to conduct a best practice COVID Safe business in terms of social distancing, public health record keeping obligations (guidance is available on COVID-19 website Privacy page) and practicing good hygiene.
It should include guidance on how a business should act in situations where a person or worker presents with symptoms of COVID-19 or is diagnosed with COVID-19. The critical message that needs to be emphasised is that workers should be sent home if they display symptoms of COVID-19 and they should be tested as soon as possible.
The Queensland Government has also produced a fact sheet to assist businesses in understanding their record keeping obligations under the public health directions. Conditions of entry
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry can safely control the flow of customers in and out of a business, the right to refuse entry and service to people who show COVID-19 symptoms and the use of waiting areas (if applicable).
It should also include guidance on the rights and responsibilities of businesses in refusing entry and service, as well as tools to help the business with these customer conversations.
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry can safely interact with customers.
Completing service and payment
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry can safely complete service, pack orders and carry out transactions and payments. This includes how staff can accept and provide deliveries safely.
Communal facilities and spaces
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry can safely manage communal facilities and shared spaces while meeting hygiene requirements. Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should explain steps a business can take to ensure that non-permitted gatherings do not happen near or on their premises. For example, talking to neighbouring tenancies on managing the flow of customers, and developing precinct-wide social distancing protocols.
Managing egress and emergency evacuation
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry may need to change their egress and emergency evacuation procedures given the restrictions around COVID-19.
This section should consider ways businesses in your industry can keep staff safe, such as limiting physical interaction between workers, workers and clients, and workers and other persons at the site. This might include how businesses in your industry can promote flexible working arrangements. It should also consider how businesses should consult with workers and what support they must give to workers who may be affected by COVID-19.
Safe Work Australia has published guidance on managing the risks of work-related violence, which you might include in your COVID Safe Industry Plan. This might include training workers on what to do during a violent or aggressive incident.
This section should consider what industry and workplace-specific training businesses in your industry should be requiring their staff to complete.
Applicable public health directions
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should include information on how the Queensland Chief Health Officer’s public health directions apply to your industry. These directions are located on the Queensland Health website, along with guidance to help you understand these directions.
Importantly, your COVID Safe Industry Plan should clearly tell businesses that they should have a process in place to stay up to date with the public health directions, as these will change over time.
Review and risk management
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should include information about how businesses can review the effectiveness of the steps they put in place. For example, it could include a ‘self-regulatory’ tool or checklist that businesses can use to measure success or evaluate risks.
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should also include any information on audits and compliance checks that any relevant industry bodies or associations may perform with their members against the plan, as well as any measures for managing complaints.
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan should explain how you will keep businesses up to date if the plan needs updating as Queensland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Measures here could include a list of how you will communicate with businesses - meetings, newsletters, social media updates, use of discussion forums, etc.
Statement of compliance
Your COVID Safe Industry Plan must include a statement of compliance that a business can print, sign, date and display in their business premises. The purpose of the statement of compliance is to enable businesses to demonstrate to the community and the relevant government authorities that they are following their specific COVID Safe Industry Plan. This is particularly important in helping your customers feel confident and safe about being in your premises.
A sample template can be downloaded from the COVID Safe businesses page.
To promote best practice, your COVID Safe Industry Plan might include the following additional guidance:
- a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- contact details for further support (e.g. links to relevant unions, regulators and employer groups who can provide additional information and assistance).
Submitting a plan
Submissions relating to new COVID Safe Industry Plans or amendments to existing industry plans are to be discussed with the relevant government department who will submit the plan or amendments to Queensland Health for approval on behalf of industry.
COVID Safe Event Plans and supporting information can be submitted to Queensland Health by emailing: COVID-19.Industryplans@health.qld.gov.au.
Businesses are required to include evidence in your submission that you have consulted with relevant industry stakeholders during the preparation of your plan.
To ensure consistency of safety standards and compliance, Queensland Health will only approve one COVID Safe Industry Plan per industry.
COVID Safe Industry Plans are only valid if they have been approved by the Chief Health Officer. Individual businesses following an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan are not required to submit any further plans.
Once approved, all COVID Safe Industry Plans are published and publicly available on the Queensland Government COVID-19 website for all businesses within that industry to access (regardless of membership to any industry body).
Eligible restricted businesses that have completed and displayed a Statement of Compliance with an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan are not required to complete and display the mandatory COVID Safe Checklist.
A relevant enforcement officer can check the plan at any time and/or may ask for a copy of the signed Statement of Compliance. All businesses should be following the Work Health and Safety guidelines.
Updating an approved Plan
Any revisions to reflect changes to public health directions are to be discussed with the relevant government department who will submit the amendments to Queensland Health for approval on behalf of industry.
Businesses should contact their respective industry in the first instance if their requirements are not met in this plan.
Once your COVID Safe Industry Plan has been approved, businesses in an industry that comply with the COVID Safe Industry Plan must display a Statement of Compliance in a public location on their premises. This statement will be provided by the relevant COVID Safe Industry Plan.