To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

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

It has been a busy week where we have seen the release of updated Directions (no 4) by the Public Health Commissioner and release of version 7 of the Building & Construction Industry Safety Guidelines. 

This provides the industry with greater definition around “early stage land development”, which has now been expanded to include industrial, mixed-use and other developments, together with the list of “specialist contractors” to enable specialist services and attendance to up to 3 sites per week.  Further to my CEO update on 17 August, below is a link to the latest Directions that came into effect 11.59pm 16 August 2020, for your ease of reference.

Building & Construction Industry Working Group – Safety Guidelines (version 7 released)

The latest release of the Building & Construction Industry Working Group Safety Guidelines (version 7) and a self-explanatory note of changes are available here:

It is important to read the Industry Guidelines document in conjunction with the DHHS Directions and the Victorian Government Business Vic Construction Sector Guidance. Please note that the Business Victoria link below provides a comprehensive set of Q and A’s for the Construction Sector and Related Sectors.

The content on the Business Victoria will continue to be updated as further clarifications become necessary and I encourage all members to continually check this key reference site on a regular basis.

The focus and further work of the Building & Construction Industry Working Group is now being directed towards what a “Return to Work” strategy might look like.  I would like to assure members that there is continuous engagement with Government with a view to facilitating the best scenarios and outcomes for the industry under current circumstances.

Returning to Work after being Positive for COVID-19

There is some anxiety being reported where workers who have tested positive are returning to work after having been cleared by DHHS. The situation is that in these cases, these workers have been deemed as no longer contagious and therefore present no risk to fellow workers. This is the case even if they may be in contact with other persons (ie: family members) who may also be or have been positive.

Reframing definitions of Close and Casual Contact

In light of the second wave of positive cases in Victoria, DHHS has reframed the definition of contact with persons who test positive. The terminology ‘casual contact’ is now redundant. Accordingly, the Industry Working Party has redrafted the revised Industry Guidelines (version 7) to reflect new procedures. In summary, I refer you to the following extract from DHHS.  “Once DHHS is in touch with the workplace and undertake an assessment of the site, in the context of the number and spread of the cases, we may define a larger group as close contacts, or may choose to define those (previously described – MP) “casual contacts” as close contacts, or request testing of further staff. However, DHHS will liaise with the workplace in regard to this and will advise them specifically.”

There is an exhaustive Guidance Document from DHHS on this – see link below with the key points included in the revised Industry Safety Guidelines (version 7) along with revised flowcharts.

Re-Opening Sites after Closure and Cleaning

The following statement from DHHS clarifies response to the Workplace Directions for closing and cleaning of sites after a positive or suspected case of COVID-19.

“In regard to the timeframe for reopening by DHHS, the aim is for this to be done as soon as reasonably possible. Once (the DHHS) becomes aware of the site, we will contact the facility, undertake a risk assessment, define the close contact population and await receipt of those lists and ensure those people have been quarantined, and ensure a clean has been undertaken. Once these actions have been completed, we will then advise the facility can reopen. This usually occurs within 24-48 hours of my team receiving notification.”

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

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria