To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

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

Good afternoon.

The Premier has just completed his Press Conference and circulated the following media release with a table of changes wef 11.59pm this evening (18 October) and planned step 3 road map for Metro Melbourne planned for 11.59pm Sunday, 1 November 2020, at the bottom of the release.

There are no major surprises announced by the Premier today, with the easing of restrictions predominantly relating to “the way we live and not the way we work.” I refer you specifically to the table of changes for Metro Melbourne referenced in the above media release, and attached for ease of reference.

Shepparton Outbreak The community outbreak of the virus in Shepparton has been well reported and impacted a Hansen Yunken project building a new secondary school. Many of the 200 strong workforce had visited one or more of the 8 ‘hot spots’ identified by the DHHS and were required to get tested and in some cases, quarantine for 14 days. There was no indication that any of the HY workforce were positive themselves. INCOLINK/APC Medical Teams responded quickly to be on site conducting C-19 testing for 163 workers. At the time of writing – no positive cases recorded.

The action undertaken by DHHS in the event of an outbreak is a new approach – first seen in their response at Kilmore and now at Shepparton. It is likely that this broader approach would also be taken on a building or construction site in the event of an outbreak in our industry. An outbreak is defined as two or more positive cases.

New Version 8 – Building & Construction Industry Guidelines.

On 16th October a new version (revision 8) of the Building & Construction Industry Guidelines has been release with immediate effect and I refer you to the attached new guidelines, an explanatory note accompanying the release and the final document is what you need to do when we move through to the next stage and this industry is declared “open” subject to a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan being in place.  

The Guidelines have been redrafted to incorporate the latest updates including any relevant new DHHS Directions and best practice.  It will still be important to read Revision 8 in conjunction with the applicable DHHS Directions and the Victorian Government Business Victoria Construction Sector Guidance. 

The changes made for this revision Revision 8, include the following:

  1. References the CHO Workplace Directions as the fundamental enforceable obligations.
  2. Updates the definition of ‘close contact’ as provided by DHHS.
  3. Updates the requirements for testing and quarantine for positive cases as per latest DHHS advice.
  4. References the DJPR FAQ’s on the Business Vic website.
  5. References and links the CALD worksite resources available.
  6. References the requirement of all sectors to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan and provides a link to the Business Vic templates.
  7. Updates cleaning and disinfecting procedures, in accordance with latest DHHS advice.
  8. Incorporates the recent changes of DHHS directions to wear a fitted face mask, effective 11 October 2020.
  9. Workplace Mapping section now includes reference to contactless or electronic means – these are not mandatory.
  10. Provision is included for COVID Marshals as recommended for the Large Scale Sector, with guidance on their role and qualifications.
  11. Updates composition of the B and C Industry COVID-19 Taskforce, flowcharts, attachments and minor editing.
  12. Further clarification to ‘close contact’ definition and relevant flow charts in line with DHHS advice.
  13. Links to the latest WorkSafe Alert for face masks in Construction. 

I want to clearly point out that this new version was NOT reliant upon whether we go to “Open” (3rd stage) on 19 October.  They apply from now and it is anticipated that Revision 8 can remain in place now for some time. However, it will of course remain under regular review.  Arrangements are currently being made to ensure the Business Victoria and VBA websites with links to Revision 8. 

Friday, I received a briefing from DJPR at our Industry Working Group meeting and it is anticipated that the outstanding corrections/updates FAQ’s for Construction and the High Risk COVIDSafe Plan for Construction will be uploaded shortly so please continue to refer to the Business Victoria site for updates.

Updated WorkSafe Safety Alert: Fitted face masks must be worn in the construction industry

On Wednesday, WorkSafe updated a previously released Safety Alert to align with the new Chief Health Officers direction for fitted face masks to be worn.

The updated safety alert is titled ‘Fitted face masks must be worn in the construction industry’, (previously titled ‘Entanglement risk from loose fitting face coverings’).

WorkSafe is issuing the alert to raise awareness that employees must wear a fitted face mask on construction sites. Loose fitting face coverings and face shields without a face mask are not to be worn.  The alert communicates:

  • Face shields without a fitted mask must not be worn, without a lawful reason.
  • Loose fitting face-coverings such as bandanas and scarves must not be worn.
  • The risk of entanglement from loose fitting face masks.

The images in the alert have been updated to reflect the CHO directions.   There is a discrepancy between information the WorkSafe & DHHS websites and for clarity, I refer you to the attached revision 8 of the Guidelines for more details.

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

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria