What responsibilities do employees have in a pandemic situation?
Under the HSWA employees are required to take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others by their actions or omissions, and to comply with the employer’s/business’s reasonable instructions and policies, i.e. follow safe work practices, use equipment, wear protective equipment or clothing, participate in training, and report hazards, faulty equipment, an incident or injury.
The employee is responsible for highlighting to their employer any conditions or circumstances that place the worker’s health and safety at risk. Employers have an obligation to engage with their workers in all health and safety matters, so it is important to participate in these discussions within your workplace.
NZNO recommends in the case of an emergency, pandemic or disaster, and in this instance COVID-19, that members:
- Continuously monitor their own health and that of their colleagues, and immediately report any issues of concern to their employer;
- Immediately report to their manager any breaches of policies, procedures or processes that are in place to prevent harm, e.g. infection prevention and control procedures or incorrect use of personal protective equipment (PPE).