Sponsored Construction industry COVID-proofs itself, while vaccines lag

Construction industry COVID-proofs itself, while vaccines lag

"COVID-19 Gold Standard Site” accreditation will require a COVID-SAFE plan to be approved by the workplace’s Safety Committee and certified by the Building Industry Liaison Officer. Photo: Incolink
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With winter approaching, the construction industry has taken pre-emptive steps against further COVID-19 outbreaks, as the vaccine rollout continues to lag well behind deadline.

The delay in the vaccine rollout has given the industry no choice but to plan for more outbreaks, meaning COVID-19 protocols will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, until the vaccine rollout really picks up pace.

Construction workers, through their unions and employers via their industry bodies have got together and set up a set of rules for a “COVID-19 Gold Standard Site” which are a step up from the State Government’s mandated rules.

The Gold Standard will include new accreditation that ensures civil and construction sites in Victoria are adhering to stringent health and safety guidelines to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak on site.

A COVID SAFE plan includes mandatory temperature testing on site-entry, onsite COVID-19 marshals and contactless workplace mapping. Photo: Getty

Project sites will be provided with a checklist so that their safety committees can assess that their site meets the standard, with assessments provided to the Building Industry Liaison Officer, Department of Health to finalise their certification.

The accreditation will require a COVID-SAFE plan to be approved by the workplace’s Safety Committee and certified by the Building Industry Liaison Officer.

It will require mandatory temperature testing on site-entry, onsite COVID-19 marshals, contactless workplace mapping systems and asymptomatic site testing.

Occupational health and safety measures will also continue, including the highest level of cleaning and disinfectant procedures, mandatory face masks, positive case and contacts procedures and training for all HSRs & managers in infection control awareness.

All of this amounts to the most stringent protocols of any industry in Australia and this safety-first mindset is critical to keeping the construction industry – and the economy – pumping along under the cloud of the pandemic.

It is this approach that saw the Victorian Government announce increased workers on construction sites before most other sectors in 2020 and it was critical for the economy that the industry could work through winter.

The construction industry employs 8.9% (over 1.15 million people) in Australia and generates over $360 billion in revenue which is around 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.

It also showed greater resilience than other industries across the pandemic with the number of workers in the industry increasing by 9.9% in the last five years to February 2021.

Construction has a strong track record in knowing the importance of, and acting on, safety issues. COVID-19 is a workplace safety issue, and we support the great diversity of our workplace by making sure everyone knows the rules.

Information about workers responsibilities under the Gold Standard is being provided in 16 languages to make sure that all workers understand their responsibility to keep each other safe.

By communicating a clear COVIDSafe message to people on construction sites, we can continue keeping our industry and the economy strong.

These are the simple rules everyone in construction needs to follow. Being COVIDSafe is everyone’s responsibility. Being COVIDSafe keeps your family safe, it keeps you safe at work, and keeps your work site open.

More from incolink.org.au

Incolink is Australia’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive workers’ entitlement scheme. Incolink is the safety net for the building and construction industry.