Extent of WorkSafe Visits
Over 3,000 construction sites have had visits from WorkSafe inspectors checking for compliance with the COVID-19 safety obligations. We have been advised that much of the increased enforcement activity has focused on the many administrative activities required during COVID-19 including record keeping and paperwork associated with cleaning protocols.
Members need to be aware and take the necessary steps to meet all COVID safety requirements.
Visit HIA’s COVID-19 Website for more information on COVID-19 safety requirements.
General Obligations – Melbourne
The COVID-19 directions made by the Victorian Chief Health Officer impose obligations on all businesses in Victoria, not just metropolitan Melbourne.
The feedback from members who have been visited by WorkSafe inspectors suggests they are focusing on the following in metropolitan Melbourne:
- a site specific High Risk COVIDSafe Plan which includes the site address;
- records of twice daily cleaning on site;
- records of worker movements; and
- the PPE training plan.
General Obligations – Regional Victoria
The directions in regional Victoria are not as onerous as metropolitan Melbourne however members in Regional Victoria still need to have a COVIDSafe plan in place.
COVID-19 PPE Training –-Industry Obligations – Melbourne
One of the key issues that WorkSafe appear to be focusing on during their visits is the PPE Training Plan.
Members are reminded that the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions require employers to have a PPE training plan in place. There is little information available from the government about what is required apart from the PPE training plan must be provided to workers in multiple formats (for example, infographics and text); and be accessible for multilingual workers.
Information to be included in a PPE training plan
WorkSafe’s advice in relation to COVID-19 PPE training is that this should include training about how to put on PPE and how to safely remove, store and dispose of PPE.
For example, a training plan in relation the use of COVID-19 facemasks (surgical mask/respirator) in construction may specify the following information be provided at a toolbox talk and be supplemented by infographics, such as images or display posters.
Before putting a facemask on:
- Sanitise or wash hands with soap and water
- Put on facemask before putting on gloves
- Avoid touching the face mask as much as possible
- Remove gloves first, then remove the face mask
- Sanitise or wash hands with soap and water immediately after
- Disposable items to be disposed of after each removal.
- Reusable face masks must be washed before reuse
Cleaning requirements – Melbourne
The Workplace Directions that apply to all businesses allowed to operate in Melbourne require an employer to take all reasonable steps to ensure that shared spaces at work sites are cleaned on a regular basis. This includes a requirement that frequently touched surfaces, such as toilets and handrails, are cleaned at least twice day and when visibly soiled. This cleaning requires wiping the surface with a disinfection wipe with anti-viral properties. These wipes should be made available on site.
The Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions require that a record be kept of the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. This cleaning log has to be kept in an accessible location.
It is important that there are systems in place to give workers the opportunity to carry out and record this cleaning.
Record keeping requirements – Melbourne
There are a number of record keeping requirements in the COVID-19 directions. These include records of all workers and visitors on site for more than 15 minutes and written declarations by workers before the start of each shift that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in contact with a confirmed case or required to quarantine or self-isolate.
These records can be kept electronically and just need to be available for inspection if required.
As always please call HIA if you have any questions or concerns.
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