COVID Safe Plans required by midnight and records kept on staff working for more than one employer
Victorian disability service providers are listed as a permitted industry, allowing them to continue operating during the Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions providing they meet certain criteria. Providers are urged to read the latest Workplace Directions [PDF] and implement all requirements.
If, as a disability service provider, you are continuing to operate, you must have in place a COVID Safe Plan for every workplace (including every vehicle being used for work purposes) by midnight tonight.
The Plan must set out:
- your actions to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 in your workplace
- the level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
- how you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace
- how you will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government
All Stage 4 COVID restrictions for permitted industries must be met. These require workplaces to:
- have a COVID Safe Plan in place that is regularly updated (unless you are a small business with fewer than 5 employees)
- ensure that any workers that can work from home are able to do so
- collect records of all workers, subcontractors, customers and clients attending the work premises for 15 minutes or longer (certain exemptions will apply)
- ensure only one worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas
- unless an exemption applies, ensure that workers do not work across multiple sites, or for multiple employers
- ensure that workers are in good health - workers cannot work if they are unwell and employers must not require workers with symptoms to work
- if your worker is unwell, send them home and direct them to be tested (they must stay home until they have their result)
- report any positive cases of COVID-19 to DHHS, WorkSafe, Health and Safety Representatives, and notify your workforce
- regularly clean your facilities, shared spaces and provide additional cleaning supplies
- undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of your workplace in certain situations
In addition to the notifications required to be made to the above listed parties, disability service providers will need to notify the NDIS Commission of any positive cases of COVID-19 and need to contact any participants that may be impacted (and their families or representatives).
Guidance and advice on COVID Safe Plans is available from Business Victoria, including a template.
Providers are reminded they must operate a Workplace Attendance Register and provide workers with a permit if they are required to travel to a workplace. Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.
The Workplace Directions indicate that where possible, the movement of workers between workplaces should be limited. Where it is not practicable to limit a worker to only one work premise, the employer must be able to demonstrate how they are minimising the number of workers working across multiple sites.
If a worker is working at more than one premise for two or more employers, the worker must provide a written declaration to each employer that they are working for another employer, which includes the details of the other work premises. There does not appear to be a template for this declaration, and some disability services are requiring staff to complete statutory declarations. These can be completed online.