The COVID-19 Pandemic has had an enormous impact on the health of individuals, as well as economic and resource management implications for Australian Companies.

With many industries classified as essential services by the Australian Government it is important that there are streamlined processes in Workplaces to identify possible cases of COVID-19 early so that workers can be isolated and cared for with minimal disruption to productivity.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory tract infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious infections.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new form of coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China. Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people may recover easily, while others may get very sick very quickly. Worker’s who present to work early in the infection are likely to have mild symptoms, these may include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Runny nose

It is important to identify workers with mild symptoms before they enter the Workplace, as they are still considered highly infectious and a risk to other workers.

COVID-19 & Disruption to Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to business in large Organisations and have required rapid changes to the way Workplaces function. Many of these Organisations have workers who are considered essential and must therefore continue to attend their Workplace throughout the various phases of Government lockdown.

It is important to ensure that workers are screened for COVID-19 & other respiratory tract illnesses early and before they enter the Workplace each day. This is to ensure that they receive the appropriate medical care, as well as preventing transmission of viral infection to other workers.

At the time of writing, if a worker tests positive for COVID-19 within a workplace then all workers who have been in close contact with the individual for greater than 15 minutes or in the same room for greater than 2 hours must self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

In open-plan offices or large construction sites this can lead to a large number of workers who are unable to contribute to the workforce and significant disruption to productivity.

In early COVID-19 infection individuals may have very mild symptoms and feel well enough to attend work. However, they are still highly infectious and a risk to other workers.

Already this year, many Australian Corporations have been required to close their offices for extended periods of time while they are professionally cleaned and have their workers in quarantine for 14 days due to workers attending the Workplace while infected with COVID-19. These events cause significant financial losses to the Organisation in paid Sick Leave for workers and lost productivity.

COVID-19 & Disruption to Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to business in large Organisations and have required rapid changes to the way Workplaces function. Many of these Organisations have workers who are considered essential and must therefore continue to attend their Workplace throughout the various phases of Government lockdown.

It is important to ensure that workers are screened for COVID-19 & other respiratory tract illnesses early and before they enter the Workplace each day. This is to ensure that they receive the appropriate medical care, as well as preventing transmission of viral infection to other workers.

At the time of writing, if a worker tests positive for COVID-19 within a workplace then all workers who have been in close contact with the individual for greater than 15 minutes or in the same room for greater than 2 hours must self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

In open-plan offices or large construction sites this can lead to a large number of workers who are unable to contribute to the workforce and significant disruption to productivity.

In early COVID-19 infection individuals may have very mild symptoms and feel well enough to attend work. However, they are still highly infectious and a risk to other workers.

Already this year, many Australian Corporations have been required to close their offices for extended periods of time while they are professionally cleaned and have their workers in quarantine for 14 days due to workers attending the Workplace while infected with COVID-19. These events cause significant financial losses to the Organisation in paid Sick Leave for workers and lost productivity.

Integrated COVID-19 Screening in your Workplace

Screening for COVID-19 as a risk mitigation strategy is vitally important for an Organisation to maintain a healthy workforce and optimal capability during this pandemic. Workplace Medicine Australia and our strategic partners, ADG Engineers, can review your Workplace and workflows to tailor a screening solution fits your organisation’s needs in risk mitigation of COVID-19, including integration with your existing quality assurance and risk management processes, through ADG’s Risk Advisory team.

The aim of this screening is to identify workers as they arrive to the Workplace who may have symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19. These workers can then be isolated from the remainder of the workforce to avoid transmission and need for broader quarantine measures.

ADG+WMA have various technology options available to identify workers with a fever as they arrive to the Workplace, including automated thermal body scanners.

Our process utilises infrared thermography scanning technology to detect elevated temperatures in personnel, upon entry into the workplace. We utilise machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to automatically convert the temperature reading into a colour thermal image, with automated recognition of temperatures above the set fever threshold, which then activates the medical consultation process.

Our scanning equipment options range from handheld infrared thermometers, through to high end fully automated thermographic scanners capable of scanning fast moving crowd of people. We consult with your team on each project to determine your risk mitigation aims and thresholds, and review the site deployment constraints, to select the scanning equipment and site infrastructure to meet your requirements.

Immediate Medical Review and Management by Qualified Doctors

Workers who are identified during screening will receive immediate video consultation with a WMA Doctor who will advise management, arrange testing for COVID-19 if required and advise the most appropriate place for the worker to self-isolate.

If it is deemed necessary, the WMA Doctor may arrange in-person medical review by their usual General Practitioner or call for an ambulance if they are critically unwell.

If the worker has mild symptoms, they will be followed up by the WMA Doctor during their period of isolation and at the time they are well enough to return to work.

Return to work & reporting

It is often confusing for organisations how long workers must remain in isolation and when they can return to work. This will vary between workers based on their likely diagnosis, symptoms, tests performed and current Government recommendations.

WMA Doctors are experienced in assessing workers via video consultation and can give guidance on when they can return to work.

Confidential reporting is then provided to the worker and the organisation.

The aim of COVID-19 risk mitigation solutions is to ensure that workers are well supported and then advised when they are considered safe to return to work. This ensures the health of the remaining workforce and minimal disruption to productivity.

Holistic system to reduce risk of viral transmission of COVID-19 to essential workers.

Holistic system to reduce risk of viral transmission of COVID-19 to essential workers.