This document provides an outline for how Empower Construction will respond to the current COVID19 pandemic and how it will comply with government regulations and work with clients to ensure that the workplace remains as safe as possible and put in place stringent measures to halt the spread of the virus on worksite and within the wider community.
Empower Construction is committed to reducing the spread of the coronavirus COVID19 and will consult with workers and other duty holders to conduct a WHS risk management assessment to:
- identify workers and work activities at greatest risk of spreading infectious diseases in the event of a pandemic
- assess the likelihood and consequence of infection to workers and others in the workplace
- identify suitable control measures to eliminate or minimise risks and work with clients to reduce the WHS risk on job sites
- put measures in place to ensure that ill workers remain away from work when unwell
- develop an implementation plan
MITIGATING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS
Isolating the site:
- Only essential visitors to the site/ office will be permitted
- Workers, clients, visitors who has been diagnosed with COVID19 must not attend site until they have been provided with a medical clearance as per state government guidelines
- Workers, clients and visitors who are unwell and present with symptoms including fever, dry cough, sore throat are not permitted on site or in the office
- They are advised to stay at home if they are sick – even if the symptoms are mild
- any unwell workers with compatible symptoms to those of COVID-19 be sent home immediately, and advised to call their General Practitioner, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or visit their local Emergency Department
- Workers, clients, and visitors who have been overseas must not return to work or enter a site until the end of a full 14 day self isolation period
- Workers, clients, and visitors who have been in close contact with a person who has been confirmed as having COVID19 must self isolate for a period of 14 days and not return to site unless they show no symptoms of the disease at the end of that period
Isolating Workers through Social Distancing:
- Site workers will be kept in their work group and work 4m2 away from each other while working on site
- Empower Construction will work with the head contractor on their site and allow workers to be inducted into COVID19 social distancing measures as guided by the head contractor
- Where possible, office workers will work from home or if required at work, will work in a space at least 4m2 away from others
- Empower Construction operates using cloud based job management software and is well placed to do this to avoid business interruption
- In the office, workstations, hard surfaces and door handles will be wiped down regularly with disinfectant
- Face to face meetings among workers, clients, suppliers are to be avoided and instead Empower will use the Zoom Meeting platform to continue to conduct business meetings
- Suppliers will leave goods at the door or they will be handled using the forklift and avoid contact with other individuals keeping a 1.5-2m distance between people at all times
INFECTION PREVENTION THROUGH HYGIENE MEASURES:
- frequently wash hands their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand rub;
Empower Construction will:
- make alcohol-based hand sanitising dispensers as much as practicable are available in prominent places around the office workplace and on utes and ensure they are regularly refilled
- make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to facilities where they can wash their hands with soap and water this includes providing a mobile hand washing station on all utes
- actively promote good hand hygiene in bathroom and kitchen amenities using resources in relation to COVID-19 available from NSW Health and WHO.
Empower Construction recognises that hand sanitisers should not be provided as the only hand hygiene option as there are times when soap and water should be used instead, eg: when hands are visibly dirty or after going to the toilet
Co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures and must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.
- cover their cough their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
- dispose of tissues immediately, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after disposing or thoroughly wash hands with soap for 20 seconds
- avoid contact with others (no shaking hands, touching faces, hugging, and other intimate contact).
Empower Construction will:
- ensure an adequate supply of paper tissues is available throughout the workplace including on all utes
- provide closed bins for hygienic disposal of used tissues in the office and ensure client sites have this facility
- actively promote good respiratory hygiene in prominent places where close customer or worker contact occurs, resources in relation to COVID-19 are available from NSW Health
- continue to provide PPE including P2 face masks for all workers, protective eye glasses, protective gloves and ear plugs
Empower Construction will seek expert advice that may be required for high risk work environments or tasks and in particular take the lead from the head contractor
Empower Construction will regularly review the control measures being used and update these as required pending government advice.
ENSURING GOOD COMMUNICATION RE WORKPLACE CONTROLS
Empower Construction will provide information and instruction to workers, subcontractors, clients and others:
- to stay at home if they are sick – even if the symptoms are mild, and
- that any unwell workers with compatible symptoms to those of COVID-19 be sent home immediately, and advised to call their General Practitioner, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or visit their local Emergency Department
- to reinforce and support good personal hygiene, including good hand and respiratory hygiene. Display posters promoting regular hand washing, good respiratory hygiene, symptoms to look out for and when to stay home (available from NSW Health or the World Health Organization (WHO)), and combine this with other communication measures used in the workplace (e.g. regular briefings;information on the intranet; phone and email contacts for further information etc)
- to advise of any changes to work arrangements to workers and other businesses our workers are in close contact with
- Regular briefings will be conducted via email, telephone and Zoom meetings
Workers must co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures and must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.
MANAGING ILL WORKERS
What to do if someone
- is a suspected case of COVID-19 awaiting results
- has been in close contact with a suspected and/or confirmed case of COVID-19
- becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms at the workplace (confirmed case)
If someone becomes ill at work:
- preferably only one person and ideally a person with first aid training should have limited contact with the sick person
- the ill worker will be provided with a disposable P2 face mask (kept on all utes and in the office) to wear to reduce the risk of disease transmission (all workers will be wearing these masks as part of their PPE)
- They will be advised to go home and immediately call their doctor. (It is essential the mask is worn correctly and disposed of as soon as it becomes moist or after coughing or sneezing. Resources on the correct application, use, removal and disposal of face masks are available from World Health Organization (WHO)
- Their emergency contact will be called and if they are not well enough to drive themselves will be asked to arrange private transport within their own close contact familial circle or a team member will drive them home before isolating themselves while waiting for the unwell workers test results
- Any ill workers will be recorded on Employment Hero and the head contractor of any worksite that the employee has been working on for the last 14 days will be notified
Managing a suspected case of COVID-19 awaiting results
- Empower Construction will advising them to remain self-isolated at home and strictly follow their doctor’s advice
- if NSW Health confirms that the person has COVID-19, the local Public Health Unit will be in contact with close contacts from the workplace, if any, to advise them on what action to take. If the person was infectious while at work the employer must notify SafeWork NSW.
- Close contacts/ persons who may be at risk will be supported and as much as practicable their privacy will be maintained and identified cases will not be stigmatised and discrimination in the workplace.
- After the person has left the workplace, the person’s workstation, work area and any communal areas they have been in must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Workers must co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures. They must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.
EMPOWER CONSTRUCTION WILL REVIEW ITS PANDEMIC PLAN, IN CONSULTATION WITH WORKERS, AS GOVERNMENT ADVICE CHANGES.
AT THE TIME OF WRITING, NSW IS AT LEVEL 2 RESTRICTIONS
In order to return to a normalised post pandemic environment, Empower Construction will:
- progressively suspend local risk control measures as the pandemic subsides, to be on a schedule that is compatible with advice from NSW Health.
- consider the need for training for workers re-tasked to priority areas while business activities are transitioning back to normal:
- ensure workers are consulted about skills, training needs and workloads before they are moved to new work
- ensure effective communication and consultation with workers both in the workplace and those at home waiting to recommence normal work arrangements
- ensure access to work-based counselling and support services continue. Workers who are affected by the death of colleagues, friends or family may need extra support.
Empower Construction – COVID19 Standard Operating Procedure_230320