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Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Issue 37.0 

1.  OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT

How to respond to an employee’s positive COVID test

Should you discover that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the following steps should occur:

  1. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will inform the employer that someone has tested positive to Covid-19 in their business.
     
  2. Once informed of a positive test, employers should close the affected area immediately and send workers home as necessary.
     
  3. Employers must keep private the identity of the individual/s who have tested positive, by using non-specific terminology such as ‘we have had a positive test case in our business’ as opposed to identifying individual names.
     
  4. DHHS will email the employer a blank excel spreadsheet, to be filled out with details of all identified close contacts of the infected person (i.e. cumulative exposure of 15 min face to face contact or two hours in enclosed room together with the infected person).
     
  5. Once those workers/customers are identified, the business will need to email DHHS the list of close contacts names and their personal details.
     
  6. The business does not technically need to notify close contacts until those individuals have been contacted by DHHS.  As there could be a lag time of a day or more as the number of positive cases increase, the business may however, wish to reduce the risk of further transmissions and sustain goodwill with their employees by advising those who were in close contact with the infected individual/s as soon as they are aware.  This should be done in a private and calm manner and not in a group setting, keeping in mind the individual’s right to have their privacy preserved.  The workers identified as close contacts should be advised to isolate immediately and to expect a call from DHHS.
     
  7. DHHS will communicate with all close contacts via telephone and provide information and direction on what they need to do, they will not disclose the source of the infection.  They will require those identified close contacts to isolate for 14 days starting from the last day in which they were in contact with the infected individual.  They will need to be tested negative prior to returning to work.
     
  8. The business will need to independently source a cleaning company to conduct a deep clean of the site as soon as possible (contact VACC OHSE Unit if you require assistance in sourcing a cleaning provider).
     
  9. Once a deep clean is completed of the site (estimated one or two day business shutdown), the site can re-open and continue operations as per-usual, whilst maintaining COVID safe practices.
     
  10. WorkSafe Victoria will contact the business and conduct an over the phone survey to ensure they have all the relevant Covid-19 control measures in place for the business.


Click here for the VACC flowchart poster.

For further information with regards to Covid-19, Safety, Workers Compensation and Environment, please contact the VACC OHSE Unit on 03 9829 1265.

2.  GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
 

Business Support Package announced

The Victorian Government has launched a new $534 million Business Support Package, designed to help businesses and business employees see through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new package includes:

  • The expanded Business Support Fund providing more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions.  This grant was previously made available to the two postcodes linked to outbreaks.  It will now apply to all areas under Stage 3 restrictions.
     
  • A $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night-time economy to support the hardest-hit businesses in hospitality.
     
  • A $26 million boost to mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.
     
  • A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.
     
  • A $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds, as well as marketing campaigns to boost region to region visitation while Melbourne is locked down.  Eligible operators will be able to claim up to $225 per night for up to five nights for each and every room cancelled due to the return of Stage 3 restrictions, provided they refund the booking in full.
     
  • A $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments.


Members can read more on the package and VACC’s stance on the inclusions here.

3.  SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS


Letter template for automotive customers

VACC has created a letter template for members to distribute to customers, following reports of police advising motorists that automotive is not an essential service during lockdown.

Members are urged to print the letter on their business letterhead and distribute to customers.

Download template here.

4.  ADVOCACY
 

Interstate freight and logistics assistance

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have collated the latest information on Australian state border conditions as it relates to freight and logistics operations.

Please note that individual states and territories are responsible for their own border processes and are the best sources of information for changes. Any application to cross a border is completed and submitted through the relevant state or territory and not through the NHVR or VACC.

Tasmania

  • Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering Tasmania from any other state.
     
  • Everyone travelling to Tasmania must complete a form. Any visitors who have spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel are not permitted to travel to Tasmania.
     
  • This does not apply to Essential Travellers (Specified Persons) from Victoria, who will still be able to apply to travel to Tasmania for a specified purpose. This category includes freight and logistics.
     
  • Any person granted Essential Traveller status who has spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel will be required to wear a face mask and limit their movement when not in the workplace.
     
  • Application for classification as an essential traveller


More information for Tasmania.

Victoria

  • Is a border pass required? No border pass is required.
  • There are currently no restrictions on travel within Victoria for freight.
     
  • Industry operators are asked to ensure they adhere to the health and safety protocols to protect their workforces and the public.


More information for Victoria.

The above conditions are accurate as of 9 July 2020.


5.  PREVIOUS UPDATE ISSUES

You can read previous Updates of COVID-19 HERE.


Geoff Gwilym
Chief Executive Officer




Disclaimer:  The information gathered has been drawn from a number of sources and VACC strongly recommends that members revert to the primary source of information for any clarification.