Construction Industry to Reopen in Victoria
After being closed due to COVID-19 concerns and protests, the Victorian Government has announced today that construction work will be allowed to continue on Tuesday the 5th of October.
There will still be strict conditions that companies will have to follow on their return to work in order to be COVID safe. These measures are designed to help stop the spread of COVID in the construction industry. These new measures are outlined in full on the Victorian Government website, which you can find here. Here’s a brief rundown of all the new changes the construction industry must adhere to.
Firstly, prior to October 5th, all site operators must complete a COVIDsafe construction declaration which will be available through the Service Victoria portal from the 2nd October and must have an active COVIDsafe site plan. To complete this, those with at least single vaccinations can have access to worksites before the 5th to prepare crib rooms, to receive deliveries required to commence work and to be re-inducted to site on new requirements.
Then, from the 5th of October, there will be several key areas that will be affected by these changes:Mandatory VaccinationsAs of 5th of October:
- All workers must have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Fully vaccinated means having both vaccinations, or one vaccination and a booking by Saturday 13 November.
The Operator of a construction site can fulfil the obligation to collect vaccination information of all persons by sighting and recording a Vaccination Attestation from each of its subcontractors, labour hire operators and other employers of transient workers such as crane crews and concrete pump operators. The Attestation supplied to the Operator of a construction site can be accessed via the Service Victoria portal.However, all site operators must be aware of and adhere to privacy obligations when managing the attestations of their workers. Workers must also be aware that there will be punitive consequences for false declarations of their vaccination status.Worker LimitsAs of 5th of October:
- Small scale sites are capped at five people per site, plus a supervisor
- Large scale sites are capped 25% of the workforce, or 50% if crib rooms follows best practice standards and all workers are fully vaccinated
- State Critical infrastructure Projects can return to 100% of their workforce if crib rooms have best practice approaches including ventilation and density limits
- Early development sites increase from 10 to 20 workers per hectare, subject to the controls specified above for all sites
Please remember, these conditions will be enforced by Authorized Workers and any building site found to be breaching these density limits will be penalised and shut down. Once Victoria hits its 70% double vaccination rate, large scale construction sites will be allowed to have 100% workforce capacity on site provided certain conditions are met. Small scale sites will have to wait until Victoria has reached its 80% double dose vaccination rate before workforce caps are removed.Metropolitan/Regional BorderAs of 5th of October:
- Workers moving between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria must be fully vaccinated, unless they are working on large scale sites or state-critical infrastructure.
- Workers on large scale sites or state-critical infrastructure projects are permitted to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to work on construction sites if they have received at least one vaccination dose.
Keep in mind, single vaccinated workers must be tested before crossing the boundary and they must get tested twice a week, with at least 72 hours between each test, until they receive their second dose. Double dosed workers will not require any COVID tests when moving across the border.Crib Rooms & COVID MarshallsAs of 5th of October:
- Wherever possible, workers should have their meals or other breaks outside, while maintaining physical distancing.
- Adequate air movement is necessary and can be achieved through natural ventilation.
- Open doors and windows allowing fresh air from outside are necessary where possible. If this is not possible, use exhaust fans to increase air flow.
- Air should be refreshed five or six times an hour in a designated tea or meal room; that is, the entire air volume should be replaced or filtered every 10 to 12 minutes.
- Ensure regular density limits are met
You must also have a dedicated COVID marshal on all construction sites with approved infection control training. The COVID marshal counts towards the workplace capacity limit, however marshals can cover multiple small scale sites if necessary.To all our Trade Trak users, please remember to stay safe and if you also need a compliant COVID safe report template for your workplace, you can download our free template from our template store by following this link.