Rapid Antigen Testing In The Workplace: Everything You Need To Know
After two years of tumultuous work-from-home arrangements and momentary appearances in the office, workforces across Australia are finally making a more permanent return to their workplaces. Yet, despite the great return to the office, COVID-19 is continuing to linger.
Wondering how you can keep your team safe?
Rapid antigen tests are a great way to keep your team safe upon their return to the office – and they are now officially available for private use across Australia, making access easier than ever for business owners to perform onsite rapid antigen testing.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)?
A Rapid Antigen Test is a fast and simple test that can indicate if someone is likely to have COVID-19. While some Rapid Antigen Tests need to be overseen by a health professional, others can be conducted at home, at the workplace or in private.
What are the benefits of Rapid Antigen Tests? And why should I consider using them in my business?
Rapid Antigen Tests are recommended for keeping your team as safe as possible during their return to the office.
- They are easy and safe to use.
- They are a relatively low-cost solution to minimising the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Results are returned within minutes.
- Frequent Rapid Antigen Testing (2-3 times per week) can identify COVID-19 infections in people who might be asymptomatic at the time, preventing mass outbreaks in the workplace.
- They minimise the amount of time you and/or your team spend away from the business, seeking out precautionary standard PCR tests.
- With a vast number of Australians feeling nervous and/or anxious amidst their return to work due to the current COVID-19 climate, providing Rapid Antigen Test access to employees may boost employee confidence in returning to the office.
It’s also important to note that while Rapid Antigen Tests are a reliable way of monitoring and protecting your business against COVID-19, they should not replace other safety measures such as hand sanitisers, masks and social distancing. If you are considering introducing a Rapid Antigen Testing program into your business, we’d recommend considering how it will fit into your overall COVID-19 management plan.
What is the difference between a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and a PCR?
While Rapid Antigen Tests can be trusted to detect most cases of COVID-19, they are not as accurate as the standard PCR test.
Research has shown that Rapid Antigen Tests are most reliable when used by someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, meaning asymptomatic cases may proceed into the workplace undetected if they have been tested using a Rapid Antigen Test, rather than a PCR test.
However (as mentioned in the sections above), more frequent Rapid Antigen Testing (2-3 times per week) will increase the likelihood of COVID-19 being detected in someone who is positive, but asymptomatic at the time of testing.
What are the reporting requirements if a member of my team tests positive?
States and territories have different requirements when it comes to reporting workplace-related positive Rapid Antigen Tests. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest health and reporting advice within your state or territory to ensure reporting laws are abided by.
For more information or to find out how you can implement a robust rapid antigen testing program at your workplace, get in touch today.