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COVID-19 Infection Control

The World Health Organisation has provided data that shows that approximately 20% of everyone who contracts the virus will need to be hospitalised, and between 3 - 4% of people who contract it may die. This makes it over 20 times more dangerous than the flu (the flu has a mortality rate of .1% )

When you combine this with the fact that it is twice as contagious as the flu (the average person who contracts the virus passes it on to approximately two other people, vs the flu which is usually only passed onto an average of one other person), you can quickly see how dangerous it is and why the government is taking drastic measures to keep it contained.

The demographic who seem to be the most at risk of fatalities are people over the age of 60, and anyone with a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes, or lung problems.

The impact of coronavirus is wide ranging within the painting industry, from effects felt within the supply chain, through to the inevitable questions about its impact on employment conditions and safety.

It is critical that painting company supervisors and employees train their staff in strict hygiene, particularly when doing repaints on residential and commercial projects. Painters are required to handle door furniture, window furniture, doors, architraves, and many surfaces which are perfect for transmitting the virus. It is important to sterilise all these surfaces on completion, and to avoid sharing tools such as brushes and roller poles without sterilisation.

In addition to physical wellness, employers should consider mental health, too, because employers report anxiety among workers as one of the top issues brought on by the coronavirus.

Under the WHS laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or manage the risks arising from COVID-19.

To do this, you should keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the information provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and advice from state or territory government agencies, including health departments and WHS regulators.

You will not be able to completely eliminate the risk of workers contracting COVID-19 while carrying out work. However you must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise that risk.

What control measures will be reasonably practicable will depend on the work being carried out by workers and particular workplaces. Generally, you should:

  • determine appropriate control measures in consultation with workers, their representatives and taking account of official information sources (see below for further information on consultation)
  • implement those measures and clearly communicate them to all workers, including providing clear direction and guidance about what is expected of workers
  • workers should know when to stay away from the workplace
  • what action to take if they become unwell
  • what symptoms to be concerned about
  • continually monitor relevant information sources and update control measures when and if necessary
  • employers should continue to provide information to workers, including changes to control measures, as the situation develops
  • provide workers with continued access to official government sources for current information and advice
  • provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment and facilities, and information and training on how and why they are required to use them
  • require workers to practice good hygiene, including:
  • frequent hand washing
  • limiting contact with others, including through shaking hands
  • covering their mouths while coughing or sneezing
  • sterilising any tools that are shared, or providing employees with seperate tools kits
  • providing clean and sterilised toilet facilities and cleaning products such as soap and/or hand sanitiser
  • require workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work, and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate
  • seek advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace
  • limit access to the workplace by other people, unless necessary
  • reconsider work-related travel and implement other methods of communication
  • remind workers that they have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others
  • provide workers with a point of contact to discuss their concerns, and access to support services, including employee assistance programs
  • allow workers to access available entitlements in line with obligations under any applicable enterprise agreement, award, employees’ contracts of employment, and workplace policies​

To assist you to do this quickly and efficiently, the National Painting and Decorating Institute has created an easily understandable and affordable on-line course, in association with the Australasian Infection Control Society. It contains important facts and information from the World Health Organisation, the Federal Department of Health, and SafeWork Australia, and is created in such as way to ensure that employers and employees understand the information. Topics covered include:

  • Who is at risk?
  • How to carry out proper hygiene practices
  • How to disinfect surfaces
  • How to self-isolate
  • Safe Work on New Housing
  • Guidelines for Repaints
  • Risk Assessment and COVID-19 SWMS
  • Communicating with clients about COVID-19

We recommend putting all your staff through this course as soon as possible. Although a lot of information is freely available on the internet, employers should not rely on their employees finding the correct information themselves, and simply reading it. It is vitally important that they show they understand it; it could be a matter of life or death for some people.

The course can be completed from home on any internet connected device, including phones, tablets, laptops or PCs, and can translate into over 35 languages.

Employers who complete the course are issued with a certification. The course takes about 2 hours to complete. Certification is issued by the National Painting and Decorating Institute, and the Australasian Infection Control Society.


The training is free for all painters, and payment ($39) is only required for certification to be issued. That's less than a can of paint, but it could save your business.


  • Dr Cameron Jones (PHD), BSc, Grad Dip App Sci PhD, Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate),
    Diploma of Security and Risk Management
  • Richard Anthony, Australasian Infection Control Society, Health Standards Australia, Certificate IV in Business
  • Daniel Wurm, National Painting and Decorating Institute, Diploma in Vocational Education and Training, Certificate III in Painting and Decorating
  • World Health Organisation
  • NSW Department of Health


"Fantastic course! Very informative and detailed. You gain a lot more information compared to the health.gov site and it’s tailored for painters! Would recommend it to any painter who is concerned about the safety of their employers and their clientele. Great awareness and worth doing. Great work guys!"- R. Pergolizzi, Proper Painting P/L, VIC

"I personally felt that it was a positive for me and my workers and my clientele to do this course. I actually learned something and today I did a briefing with my guys and my strata clients and they both appreciated it . It's a win for my business." - M. Antosz, Natural Colour, NSW

'Great course to do, very informative and more in-depth than any other training I've come across for the COVID-19 crisis to try to stay working throughout this pandamic." - L. Embrey, LNL Painting, QLD