VIC Govt releases construction site guidelines for COVID-19 environment

The Victorian Government has released a document detailing best practice initiatives for managing construction sites in the coronavirus environment. 

The document encourages the construction industry in Victoria to review its guidelines and implement appropriate measures on construction sites. It was published on 30 March 2020 and its application may be impacted upon by future announcements.

For construction workers coming to site the document suggests screening processes to minimise the introduction of coronavirus to the site.

It suggests all workers sign a declaration that they have not been overseas or in contact with anyone that has coronavirus. It also suggests screening all workers entering the site at the start of a shift by asking if they have been overseas, come in contact with anyone that has coronavirus or if they have flu-like symptoms.

If a worker has recently returned from overseas on or after 16 March 2020, or has had close contact with a confirmed case the guidelines suggest they need to self isolate for 14 days, not attend work, contact their manager or director, seek urgent medical attention if they have flu like symptoms and refrain from returning to work until they have been cleared by a medical practitioner.

Similar guidelines apply if workers are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

For workers on site physical distancing is an important consideration in the guidelines.

Physical distancing of 1.5 metres between workers is to be implemented wherever possible. If space permits on-site offices should maintain 4 metres squared per person.

Hygiene is another important consideration, it is suggested that health information is displayed in prominent locations on the construction site.

It is also advised that workers wash hands their frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, among other precautions.

The guidelines suggest construction sites should minimise the use of shared tools and implement regular cleaning of the tools.

Twice daily cleaning is suggested to be performed on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, stair rails, light switches, lift buttons and so on.

It is advised to reduce the interaction between trades and allocate specific areas in the site amenities to each trade.

Communication by establishing an employer and union communication structure is also suggested.

The document also recommends modifying site inductions to identify potential risks and educate new starters on workplace controls, as well as providing clarity to staff on leave arrangements or for those that cannot work.

To see the guidelines in full please click here.

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