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Healthy and safety resources for businesses at Alert Level 2

These resources will help your business plan its health and safety response to Alert Level 2.

As of midday on August 12, NZ businesses outside Auckland will be back in Level 2.

To ensure you can keep both of these groups safe, we’ve created this article with links to relevant official resources that outline the steps you should take.

The Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 controls for workplaces

At the heart of the measures businesses need to implement to counter Covid-19 transmission are these four controls from the Ministry of Health:

  • Ensure people with COVID-19 symptoms stay off premises.
  • Maintain physical distancing.
  • Enable good hygiene practices.
  • Keep track of people that enter the premises.

These should be top of mind, along with your normal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

WorkSafe’s 7 priorities

There are great resources on the WorkSafe website to help you plan your business response to Alert Level 2. In particular, the body highlights seven key questions business leaders and health and safety teams should be thinking about:

  • How will you manage the risks of restarting part or all of your operations at Alert Level 2?
  • How will you ensure all workers are able to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?
  • How will you gather information on your workers’ wellness to ensure they are safe and well to work?
  • How will you operate your business in a way that keeps workers and other people safe from exposure to COVID-19?
  • How will you manage an exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19?
  • How will you check to see if your work processes and risk controls are effective?
  • How do any changes impact on the risks of the work you do?

You'll have needed to answer these questions about both Level 3 and level 2 last time. However, even if your business has been operating since then, you need to review your answers to those questions to ensure they’re still relevant and adequate.

We recommend checking out this page of the WorkSafe website, which walks you through how to answer the above questions, and provides a template to help you draw up your own plan.

Physical distancing: definitions and requirements

According to WorfkSafe’s physical distancing guidelines, there are three types of environments businesses can fall into, and each comes with its own requirements. You need to check this out, and make sure your business is able to meet the requirements of the category you sit within.

Sector specific resources

1. Construction and building

Many construction and building companies will have been in operation since the start of Level 3, and will have been getting used to working with the new COVID-19 Standard for New Zealand Construction Operations.

It’s worth noting that this was updated on May 11th, and the dedicated resources on vertical and horizontal protocols, residential construction protocols, display home protocols and more can be found on the CHASNZ website.

2. Retail

WorkSafe has dedicated guidance for retail businesses. Most importantly, it says you’ll need to think about how you will achieve:

  • Limiting the number of people on your premises so distancing can be maintained.
  • 1 metre distance physical distancing, if you’re able to contact trace records.
  • 2 metre physical distancing, if you aren’t able to contact trace records.
  • Regular disinfecting of shared surfaces like doors, tables, EFTPOS terminals.
  • Appropriate handwashing facilities if food or drink is being consumed
  • Ensuring workers who have cold or flu symptoms stay at home.
  • Asking customers who appear to have cold or flu symptoms to come back after they have been symptom free for 48 hours, and call Healthline for advice if you think workers or other people were exposed.

3. Bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs

These establishments need to adhere to rules provided on the WorkSafe website. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Keeping records of people who enter the premises.
  • Limiting group bookings to a maximum of 10, and ensuring no group stays longer than two hours.
  • Ensure all customers are seated, with bubbles separated by at least one metre,
  • Keep staff one metre apart, as far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Use good hygiene and disinfecting practices.

4. Forestry

Last time, Safetree updated their industry guidance for the forestry sector with reference to the move to Alert Level 2. This includes, but isn't limited to, advice around physical distancing, travel and paperwork.

5 . Primary sector food handling businesses

All primary sector operations are able to open at Alert Level 2, and the MPI has provided information on employer responsibilities on its website.