Are employers required to ensure workers are vaccinated?

Under Work Health and Safety laws, employers have a duty to eliminate or if not possible, minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Employers may not be able to completely eliminate the risk of workers being exposed to COVID-19 while carrying out work. However, employers must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise this risk and vaccination should be considered as one way to do so in the context of a range of COVID-19 control measures.

Whereas SafeWork Australia has previously stated ‘it is unlikely that a requirement to be vaccinated will be reasonably practicable’, SafeWork NSW has since provided clarification on this.

SafeWork NSW has recently stated the following:

“SafeWork NSW considers vaccination a high order risk control measure. When a COVID-19 vaccine is generally available, businesses may require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 if reasonably practicable to do so. A variety of factors such as eligibility for the vaccine, personal health, medical history, type of work and alternative control measures should be considered, along with the risk of exposure. Once a vaccine is available to protect against COVID-19 it is likely to be recommended for all those performing tasks in, or intending to perform tasks in, a situation where there is a high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, unless there is a medical contraindication.”

Bernard McAuley, Solicitor

McAuley Hawach Lawyers

11 Fennell Street, Parramatta NSW 2124

Telephone: (02) 9633 1826 <tel:+0296331826>

Facsimile: (02) 9687 8114

Web: <>

Email: <>

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