Companies that don’t implement a COVID-19 risk management plan are ‘walking a fine line’


With Australian state borders open and international travel resuming, all businesses will need to review the way they operate and connect with their customer base and customers to ensure they remain viable as we adapt to a “normal COVID” life, according to this law firm.

Coupled with the easing of numerous social restrictions, including density limits on public and private gatherings, cities and states across the country are expected to experience a sharp increase in locally acquired COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, quarantine and general business interruptions of affected personnel. and temporary closures.

In conversation with Weekly Lawyers, business and legal partner Nicholas Graham and attorney Evangelos Toskas said this means it is increasingly important for businesses to implement an effective COVID-19 management policy post-pandemic.

“Companies need to be proactive in their COVID-19 management plans to ensure they maintain the market position they had before COVID-19, or use this as an opportunity to capitalize on the market and to gain an edge over their competitors,” they said.

“The regulatory landscape that businesses currently face is changing rapidly, almost daily, and businesses that fail to keep up are likely to see a decline in revenue or market share. Coupled with increased social pressures and demands that businesses are ahead of the potential risks that COVID-19 poses to the community, it is essential that businesses invest in an effective COVID-19 management policy to reap the rewards at a later date and keep the community safe. “

The pair said plans like these will be important for businesses so they can effectively navigate and manage the risks associated with COVID-19.

“An effective COVID-19 management policy will enable businesses to navigate the myriad complexities that COVID-19 brings from a legal, regulatory and management perspective. If companies do not implement such policies, they may face legal risks, such as possible WHS lawsuits or workers’ compensation liability,” they said. .

“That said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and companies should seek tailored advice to mitigate their risks.”

Additionally, companies should obtain a professional risk assessment as soon as possible.

“This will allow an independent expert to look at the operations of the business from a holistic perspective and really determine where the risks of the business lie. There’s no point in having the best products if your customers are at risk by visiting your store in person,” Mr. Graham and Mr. Toskas added.

“The consequences that this could have could be catastrophic, not only from a legal point of view, but from the point of view of maintaining a strong reputation in the market. Companies should seek to engage the experts and review difficult issues, such as vaccination mandates and other HR policies as early as possible. »

With many employees returning to the office, many companies have sought to introduce workplace vaccination mandates to protect their staff and customers. According to Graham, this could spark widespread concern among business owners about the legality of vaccination mandates and the potential impact that adopting this approach to managing COVID-19 could have on their businesses. – but it is 100% legal and at the discretion of an organization.

“After a comprehensive and bespoke risk assessment, a company can decide whether or not to introduce a vaccination mandate. The viability of a vaccination mandate depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the work, the number of employees in the workplace, and the workplace itself,” said MM. Graham and Toskas.

“Expert legal counsel will be able to determine the viability of a vaccine warrant after considering these factors. Vaccination mandates can be an incredibly useful tool for managing a company’s risk under the right circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that all companies will benefit from a vaccination mandate. Ultimately, such a decision is complex and should only be made after considering many factors.

Mr. Graham and Mr. Toskas added that following a professional risk assessment, it “becomes a business decision for each company as to how far they wish to go in their COVID-19 management plans to effectively manage the identified risks”.

“All businesses should seek expert advice and have a full risk assessment undertaken now. work,” they added.

“If companies fail to do this, they end up walking a fine line in terms of risk and they are likely to be unprepared when these issues inevitably arise in their workplace.”

Companies that don’t implement a COVID-19 risk management plan are ‘walking a fine line’

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Last update: December 08, 2021

Posted: December 09, 2021


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