Last updated March 2022
This chapter explains how to manage the health and safety risk of disease, particularly COVID-19, by mandating vaccination among your workforce.
Managing the risk of spreading disease in the workplace
You have a general duty to, so far as reasonably practicable, eliminate or reduce the risk of disease or viruses, including COVID-19, in the workplace.
Vaccination is an effective way to minimise the risk of spreading diseases and viruses, and in the case of COVID-19, lessening the chance of suffering severe symptoms that may cause loss of life. As such, enforcing mandatory vaccinations for workers is a high order risk control measure against COVID-19.
When deciding whether to make vaccination mandatory, you should consider the effectiveness and practicality of other risk control measures, such as:
- working from home arrangements;
- personal protective equipment; and
- social distancing.
Case Law: Sara v G & S Sara Pty Ltd (2021)
In Sara v G & S Sara Pty Ltd (2021), the Personal Injury Commission found an employee contracted and died from COVID-19 in the ‘course of his employment’.
The worker contracted COVID-19 and died while working in New York with a business that was part of a group of companies that provided dental technician products and services across the healthcare sector in Australia and the United States.
The worker’s widow was paid death benefits of more than $800,000.