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Media statements – High caseload environment critical worker definitions and protocols

Media statements – High caseload environment critical worker definitions and protocols

  • To ensure critical workforce shortages are not caused by a reduction in caseload, critical workers must be able to work in a high-caseload environment. 
  • If necessary, strict rules for asymptomatic workers to attend work, if needed for continuity of operations
  • Balances the COVID-19-risk with the critical needs in the community
  • Western Australians are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible, including the third dose.

The definition of a crucial worker has been updated to reflect the high caseload environment in Western Australia and new testing protocols.


It is crucial to define critical worker in order to preserve critical services and avoid catastrophic loss, such as loss or life, continued access to care and essential goods, and workplace safety.


It will take effect only when WA has reached a very high level of caseload, as triggered by an epidemic or outbreak response.


A critical worker in WA means someone who cannot be performed at home and who:

  • The role is crucial to the COVID-19 Response, or continuation of critical services which prevent significant harm (e.g. loss of life, catastrophic effects on safety or welfare, or lack of access essential goods) to an individual, or the community;
  • Performs a role necessary to ensure the continuation of services, and/or is skilled in one of these industries:
  • transport, freight, and logistics, including public transport
  • Manufacturing, supply and retail of food, pharmaceutical, and beverage products (e.g. supermarkets, grocery shops and pharmacies
  • Truck stops and petrol stations
  • Agriculture (for the purposes of food supply or biosecurity);
  • Critical resources include power, utilities, and waste management services.
  • Building and construction
  • Services for correction and justice
  • Police and emergency services
  • Schools and childcare (refer specifically to these protocols);
  • health care services;
  • social assistance and residential care
  • Veterinary services
  • defense;
  • Funeral, crematorium, and cemetery services.

These workers are critical and will need to follow the new testing procedures and isolating protocols, if they have close contact.

  • If you are symptomatic, please follow the symptomatic close contact protocols.
  • If AsymptomaticIf you have to work for continuity of operation, you must have a positive RAT every day.
  • Wear a surgical mask outside of your home, use other PPE when possible, and travel alone if you can.
  • You must self-isolate when you are not at work.
  • If you have symptoms, you must follow the symptomatic close contacts rules.
  • If you have a positive RAT, you must follow the confirmed positive case protocols.

Based on guidelines from the State Government, the number of critical roles will be determined by the workplaces.


This information must be registered by employers with the State Government. A system for online registration will be created before these settings are implemented.


Visit: to see the complete list of critical workers and more information.


Premier Mark McGowan comments


“As we’ve seen, the east has seen high rates of worker absenteism caused by very high COVID-19caseloads has had a significant influence on communities.


“Critical business like supermarkets and construction and building, pharmacies childcare centres and food supply chains and biosecurity were forced to close when high caseloads forced many workers into isolation.


“The WA critical worker definitions have been released now, when we are not in a very heavy caseload environment. This allows eligible industries and sector to plan and create organisational policies.


“In NSW, critical worker definitions were in place when almost 35,000 daily cases were registered – we won’t be waiting for these caseloads in WA before implementing new settings.


It is broadly aligned to national guidelines with an enhanced RAT self test protocol.


“Critical workers from WA’s resources sector are included within the critical worker definition, unlike other jurisdictions. This is in recognition of the industry’s pivotal role in supply chains and the continuity essential services and WA’s strong economic performance.

See Also


“It’s about striking the right balance, a balance between community risk from COVID-19, and maintaining critical services to prevent catastrophic losses such as loss or death.


Comments attributed to Amber-Jade Sanderson, Health Minister


“Asymptomatic critical workers must attend work according to strict protocols. However, this is only an option.


“This policy does not permit the continuation of regular business activities such as new investments or expansion activities. It also does not allow for tasks that could be delayed, deferred or performed at will.


“It is vital to define critical workers in order to ensure that critical supply chain and services can continue to support Western Australians, and our community.”


Premier’s Office – 6552 5000

Health Minister’s Office – 6552 5900

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