With the State Government of Victoria announcing the use of face masks, Employer Associations and Unions have taken additional action to increase levels of protection in the building and construction industry.
It is now being encouraged that the entire building and construction industry wear face masks in certain activities and undertake temperature testing on sites where practicable. The additional measures of wearing face masks and undertaking temperature testing are clearly measures that can add to reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 on sites. These additional measures are considered essential.
The Chief Health Officer and the DHHS has now recommended that adults in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Mitchell Shire wear a face mask when outside of their home, if it is difficult to keep 1.5 meters apart from other people.
For building and construction sites the practicality of this new advice is simple. Use masks:
- When travelling to and from work where you cannot physically distance and on public transport
- Whenever travelling in a hoist or lift
- In a confined space. Any uncertainty should be clarified with a health and safety representative
- Travelling in a vehicle with other people
- When operating an item of plant with another person.
The face mask includes both cloth masks and single use face masks (known as surgical masks). Both masks are suitable for use to prevent the spread of COVID -19. N95/ P2 masks, must be compliant with Australian Standard 1716.
Temperature testing is an identification measure to reduce the risk of workplace infections. Temperature testing before going into a site is now considered as an important measure that can help in keeping COVID-19 out of building and construction sites. In consultation with the workforce, temperature testing should be introduced in accordance with the protocol (see link below for the COVID-19 Guidelines). These agreed industry protocols are the minimum requirements for Temperature Screening.
The best protection from COVID-19 is to keep it out of building and constructions sites. The building and construction industry is such an important part of our economy and it is important that we keep our sites safe.
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