Preventing infection in the workplace

How businesses can reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace, including how best to clean and disinfect.

Victoria to further relax COVIDSafe Settings

The Victorian Government has announced a further easing of COVIDSafe settings from 11.59pm Friday 9 April.

For more information, see the statement from the Minister for Health.


There are practical actions you can take to keep your staff and customers safe by implementing hygiene and physical distancing measures

Slowing the spread of COVID-19

To slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), employers need to ensure the following measures in a workplace:

  • Have a COVIDSafe plan.
  • Provide and promote hand sanitisers, including at building entrances.
  • Increase environmental cleaning, including between changes of staff.
  • Regularly clean with disinfectant high-touch surfaces (at least twice daily) - including desks, doors and door handles, keyboards and lifts, including lift buttons and handrails.
  • In a change room, provide adequate supplies so staff do not share items, such as towels and soap bars, and encourage staff to wash their hands after changing.
  • Open windows and adjust air conditioning to enhance airflow. Ensure the highest hygiene practices are in place among food handlers and canteen staff.
  • Purchase supplies to help limit infection, for example alcohol sanitisers and soap.

Face masks

  • Face masks are mandatory on public transport and when in taxis or ride share vehicles.
  • Face masks must also be worn when inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside the shopping centres, and large retail stores such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets.
  • It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask in other situations when you are unable to stay more than 1.5 metres from other people, such as transport stops, busy walkways, and shops.

For a list of the exemptions for not wearing a face mask see the face masks

Sourcing face masks for your business

What if my business has been unable to source face masks for the workplace?

There is currently ample supply of masks in Victoria for businesses and community members to access through retail and wholesale channels.
But if your business has not been able to source face masks for use in the workplace through normal retail and wholesale channels help is at hand through the Business Access to Masks Service.

The Business Access to Masks Service is a new initiative between the Victorian Government and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)


How does the Business Access to Masks Service work?

If you have an urgent requirement for face masks and cannot source them from your regular suppliers, you may be able to purchase from a limited supply of masks the Victorian Government has set aside for industry to purchase.

The Victorian Government has partnered with Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to distribute these masks to businesses struggling to find supply. To enquire about the Business Access to Masks Service please call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Your Business Victoria representative will refer you to VCCI to purchase masks from the Victorian Government’s supply. Eligibility criteria and purchasing limits apply.

Physical distancing

The following measures need to be used to promote physical distancing in a workplace:

  • Plan ways to enable physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters to reduce person-to-person contact for staff and clients.
  • Employers should continue to provide flexible work arrangements including supporting off-peak travel for those commuting into the office, or working from home, if feasible. 
  • In an enclosed workspace there should be on average of no more than one person per four square meters of floor space.
  • If possible, designate specific doorways as entry-only and exit-only and aim to keep people walking in the same direction through the workplace.
  • Avoid indoor meetings and lunchrooms. Encourage online meetings.
  • Workplaces that have areas accessible to the public will also be subject to density quotient and signage requirements and those subject to Stay at Home restrictions will be subject to further specific restrictions. Visit  Victoria's restriction levels for the most up to date restrictions in place in Victoria.
  • Provide a clearly visible sign for customers and staff stating how many people are allowed in your premise.

Temperature screening

Should workplaces or venues take the temperature of staff and customers?

The Department of Health does not recommend taking the temperature of people entering a venue or workplace (temperature screening), other than in very specific settings such as high-risk workplaces. Employers can choose to conduct temperature screening on entry to workplaces or venues as an additional measure.

Temperature screening alone does not detect COVID-19 and is not a substitute for other critical ways of slowing the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 such as practicing good hygiene and physical distancing.

What do I do if someone has a high temperature when they are screened

Staff conducting temperature screening should be trained in how to take people’s temperature and interpret and act on the results. There should be a clear process in place to manage people who have a fever.

If a person is confirmed to have a temperature of 37.5oC or above, they should be advised to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), seek medical help if needed and stay at home until they receive their test result. They should not return to any workplace until they receive a negative test result and are not experiencing symptoms.


Cleaning and disinfection

Workplaces need to clean and disinfect surfaces - both steps are essential. The first step is cleaning, which means wiping dirt and germs off a surface. You can use common household detergent products for cleaning which are stocked at supermarkets. Cleaning alone does not kill germs.

The next step is to disinfect the surface. Disinfection means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Again, supermarkets stock common household disinfection products – it is important to use products that are labelled “disinfectant” and to follow the instructions on the label.

High-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, at least twice daily.

For more information, download the following factsheets from the DHHS website:

Infection Control Guidelines

Find out how businesses can help reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace - including tips for cleaning and disinfection. 

How to clean and disinfect after a coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the workplace

Information for cleaners, business owners and managers. The cleaning and disinfection principles outlined in the document can be applied to all settings including construction.

Cleaning and disinfecting for non-healthcare settings

Advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in all non-healthcare settings in Victoria.

Cleaning and disinfecting for local councils

Advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission for local councils. This advice applies to all non-healthcare settings in Victoria.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance

The Procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workplaces in the coronavirus (COVID-19) environment frequently asked questions provides guidance on best practice to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the work environment for services outside of the health and aged care systems, including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (also known as PPE).

The Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the work environment frequently asked questions provides guidance on best practice for slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the work environment for services outside of the health system (health and aged care services), including the process for procuring personal protective equipment (also known as PPE) where it is required. This document should be read in conjunction with the advice on the appropriate use of personal protective equipment.

Signs, posters and templates for your workplace

Download and print a collection of templates, questionnaries, signage and posters to promote a COVIDSafe workplace.

Translated resources are also available on the DHHS website.

Industry-specific advice

For information and advice

Reviewed 18 March 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria hotline provides information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15

Contact Business Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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