Keeping safe at work

Information on keeping safe at work, including for physical and close contact jobs.

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Health and safety at work

If you believe there are reasons why it's not safe for you to be at work, or if you have concerns that you could be putting a member of your household at risk, you should let your manager know.

If you might be sick with COVID-19

If you might be sick with COVID-19, or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should not go into work at any Alert Level. Businesses must not allow or ask employees to work in these situations.

COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you have them

If you’re at higher risk of contracting COVID-19

If you or someone you live with may be at higher risk of severe illness from contracting COVID-19, you should discuss these concerns with your employer. Employees and employers should agree whether such workers can work from home or change their workplace arrangements to minimise the risks.

Guidelines for people at higher risk of COVID-19

Business health and safety

Businesses need to meet their health and safety obligations at all Alert Levels, including engaging staff and managing risks. If you are concerned these are not being met, you can raise it with your health and safety representative, union, or notify WorkSafe.

Golden rules for business at Alert Level 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work — we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. 

  1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  6. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction for example workers, contractors or customers. Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Keeping safe at Alert Level 2

The key public health requirements are the same at Alert Level 2. You should maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.

Guidance for employers on doing business safely at Alert Level 2

Guidelines for workplaces at Alert Level 3

To open under Alert Level 3, the business owner or your manager needs to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place. They should work closely with you when developing the plan, which should outline how you can work healthily and safely in a COVID-19 environment. The final plan needs to be shared with all staff who work at the business.

Businesses must comply with the following rules at Alert Level 3.

  • Your business cannot operate if it requires close physical contact. There are exceptions for some essential services, or in an emergency or critical situation.
  • Your staff should work from home if they can.
  • Customers cannot come onto your premises unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
  • Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
  • You must maintain hygiene measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces.
  • Your workers must stay home if they are sick.
  • For retailers, manufacturers, and the service industries, if you did not use personal protective equipment (PPE) before COVID-19, you don’t need it now.
  • For essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders, and corrections staff, different PPE guidance applies.
    Ministry of Health guidance on PPE (external link)
  • You must meet all other health and safety obligations.

Businesses providing necessities, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, dairies and petrol stations that were deemed essential under Alert Level 4 can continue to operate under Alert Level 3 as they have been.

Physical distancing

In an uncontrolled environment, such as interactions between the members of the public, a distance of 2 metres is appropriate.

However, a workplace is a controlled environment and this means that risks can be managed in other ways. For example, using screens or personal protective equipment like masks and gloves may allow you to safely work at smaller distances.

Don’t do activities alone if it is unsafe to do so. For example, you may need 2 people to lift heavy items safely. Consider whether you can use equipment instead. Or if the task isn’t urgent, consider leaving it until you can better manage all health and safety risks.

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