Lockdown to be Extended and Covid-19 Testing

Yesterday the Victorian Government stated that the current lockdown would not end on Thursday 2 September 2021. Without indicating how long the extension would last it is possible some restrictions will be eased later this week.

Late last week, further changes were made which make COVID-19 testing mandatory for some industries. Construction sites in Melbourne have been included in this change.  It appears that all construction workers are required to have at least one COVID-19 test a month. HIA is continuing to seek clarification regarding the application of these new requirements on residential building sites and will update members as soon as more details are available. In the interim, we can share the following details.

Ongoing restrictions for Victoria

As indicated by the Premier last week, residents in Victoria are expected to comply with the restrictions currently in place for additional time. HIA has provided details on these current restrictions in various member alerts over the last two weeks.

As a reminder, for residential building work the following restrictions apply:

  • Workers will need to carry a worker permit if you are an authorised worker. These are available on Victorian Government website.
  • Building businesses will need to comply with worker limits on site – for small scale construction this will mean 5 workers on a site, plus a supervisor and most trades limited to three sites per week.
  • Renovations inside occupied homes remain banned and only one worker can usually work outside at an occupied home.

In Greater Melbourne, but not regional Victoria, there is also a curfew from 9pm to 5am each day.

Mandatory COVID testing for construction workers – Melbourne

The Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions and the Surveillance Testing Industry List and Requirements were updated last week to mandate COVID-19 testing for all workers at construction sites in Melbourne on the following basis:

  • 25% of workforce must be tested weekly,
  • all workers tested every four weeks. 

Under these requirements employers in the construction industry are required to:

  • carry out surveillance testing for COVID-19 on workers at work sites;
  • keep records of the surveillance testing; and
  • provide these records to the Department of Health upon request by the Department.

HIA and industry representatives have met with government several times since last week to raise our concerns and seek some clarity on how this would apply and we will provide further details to members as soon as we can. The current situation of introducing new requirements without a clear plan for implementation is unacceptable and HIA has expressed our concerns to the Government since these laws were made last week.

Ongoing obligations

Members should continue be vigilant and ensure that:

  • Your COVIDSafe plan is up to date and reflects reduced operations on site.
  • Authorised Workers are carrying a workers permit when travelling to and from work.
  • You maintain contact tracing record keeping requirements through the Victoria Service App where required. 
  • Workers wear a facemask indoors and outdoors (unless an exception applies)
  • Shared spaces are cleaned, including on building sites.
  • Check the exposure sites on the coronavirus website.

HIA will continue to work with the Government to ensure we can provide members with all the information you need to manage these ongoing lockdowns.

HIA will continue to keep members informed as soon as more information becomes available.

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