To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO Desk.

Good morning.

Yesterday, the “State of Emergency” in Victoria was extended for a further 4 weeks to 11.59pm on Sunday, 13 September 2020, which allows the Victorian Government to continue enforcing physical distancing and isolation requirements as well as other directions from the Chief Health Officer (CHO).

Updated Definitions – Directions No 4 issued wef midnight 17 August 2020.

Following extensive representations by the CCF and other key employer groups to the Victorian Government, please find attached a link to the latest update of Directions from the Public Health Commander in accordance with emergency powers arising from a declared state of emergency – Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions (No 4).  This is the legal instrument and enforceable undertaking approved by the Chief Health Officer and issued by the Public Health Commander.

There are significant amendments contained in this instrument regarding definitions including:

  • Expansion of specialist contractor definition at section 8 (41) – please refer the Directions for an expanded list of approved and endorsed specialist contractors;
  • Expanded definition of early stage land development at 7 (30) to (42) – please refer the Directions 7 (39) to (42) for a greater definition of early stage development, clarification of residential and industrial developments and the point in which early stage developments become large or small scale developments and then captured by the limitation of workers on site (ie: upon the commencement of construction of the buildings);
  • Clarification of floor size area at 7 (43) (b)
  • Clarification that those undertaking statutory obligations  are not restricted in movements at 7 (36) (e) (iv)  – this is a new clause and while employers are instructed to limit movement of workers, this makes provision for work on multiple premises (no restrictions), for those required to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements (ie: auditors, building inspectors, or surveyors);

These amendments provide greater clarity and definition regarding questions and issues raised by CCF members to support the practical execution of their civil construction activities and services, without compromising or placing at risk, the health and well-being of workers on construction sites.

COVID-19 (Plant with Cabins / Sole Operators)

Further to our representations and my recent CEO update on this matter, we have received confirmation this morning from WorkSafe and DHHS that they are supportive of the Foundations for Safety (FSV) position regarding face coverings for single operators of plant with enclosed cabins (as per Notes of extraordinary meeting of 29 July 2020), noting that the Workplace Directions state (Item 7(1)) “An employer must take reasonable steps to ensure the worker wears a face covering at all times when working at a Work Premises.” However, this “requirement does not apply if the worker is working by themselves in an enclosed indoor space (unless and until another person enters that indoor space)” (Item 7(2)(e)).

Questions & Answers (Business Victoria website)

The construction Q&A’s on the Business Victoria website below has also been expanded to cover the many issues and questions being raised in regards to the interpretation and enforcement of the Directions.

Through representations made by CCF and the Building & Construction Industry Working Group, the Government have tried to capture as many questions that have been raised, as reasonably practicable.  I encourage all CCF members to have a look at the Q&A’s in accordance with the new Directions issued and feel free to suggest any additional questions you may have, that you would like covered for due consideration.

Until my next update …. Keep well – keep safe.

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria