According to the The Employer’s COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Playbook, employers have a duty under occupational health and safety (OH&S) legislation to protect the health and safety of their workers. Employers are required to implement preventative measures to ensure workers are not exposed to conditions which could be harmful to their health and safety while working. Failure to ensure a safe workplace can lead to OH&S liability, including fines and penalties, and, in serious cases, criminal prosecutions.
Employers should implement engineering controls (i.e. measures for addressing a workplace hazard by either removing the hazard or introducing a barrier between the hazard and the worker) and administrative controls (changes in workplace policies or procedures to reduce or minimize exposure to a hazard) to ensure physical distancing requirements are maintained. Employers should keep in mind that physical distancing considerations do not only apply to interactions between employees; such considerations may also apply to interactions with customers, suppliers, patients, visitors and members of the public.
Gensler’s Research & Insight suggests employers rethink density to prioritize physical distancing:
Floor Plan Mapper can help with this transition by allowing employers to create dynamic staff seating plans by simply manipulating employee seating locations to comply with COVID-19 related regulations.
In a call centre in South Korea, 94/216 employees on a floor (notably – almost all on 1 side of that floor) became infected. The ‘attack rate’ (proportion who got infected) was 44%. wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26