Covid-19 Information for Victorian Members

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November 17, 2021

All workers — including architects — must be fully vaccinated now to work on construction sites.

Fully vaccinated means having received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Construction site operators must:

  • sight and record workers’ vaccination status information (including information regarding a valid medical exemption); and 
  • notify workers who are not fully vaccinated that they cannot enter the construction site.

The principal contractor for a construction site must take all reasonable steps to ensure site workers who have not provided evidence of being fully vaccinated or evidence of a valid medical exemption are not permitted to enter the construction site. This is a legal requirement under the Chief Health Officer’s Directions.

 

November 11, 2021

As Victoria moves through the Roadmap for reopening, we wanted to provide Members with an update on current and upcoming government guidelines and rules especially as they relate to office workplaces (i.e. your studios and practices) separate to requirements for construction sites.

 

Current & Next Phases

  • From 6:00pm on Friday, 29 October, Victoria entered Phase C of its Roadmap. The general workplace settings across the state – in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne – can be found here. Victoria is expected to enter Phase D from November 24, 2021.
  • Please note that any worker – including Architects – visiting construction sites must be fully vaccinated with two doses of Covid-19 vaccine, have received their first dose, or have a medical exemption (exception).

We note to members that the Victorian Government’s Coronavirus website Office workplaces guidance page provides advice for a range of specific office settings as well as “office environments in all other workplaces”. Excerpts of this information that Victorian Chapter members should note are as follows in italics below:

 

Vaccination:

  • Phase C  (current):
    • Fully vaccinated or excepted workers: work from home if you can, but onsite work is permitted.  
    • Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated workers: if no vaccination requirement applies to your role, in most cases you may only work outside your primary place of residence if your work cannot be performed from home.
    • The current CHO order on which this is based is valid until November 18, 2021.
  • Phase D  (expected from 24 Nov, 2021):
    • Fully vaccinated or excepted workers: onsite work can return.

 

Venue/Office Capacity Limits:

  • Phase C  (current):
    • A density quotient of one person per two square metres applies for spaces not accessible to the public.
    • A density quotient of one person per four square metres applies for spaces accessible to the public.
    • Face masks must be worn indoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.
    • You do not need to reintroduce workforce bubbles for office workers, but workers should maintain 1.5 metre physical distancing where possible.
  • Phase D  (expected from 24 Nov, 2021):
    • No capacity, density or gathering limits.
    • Masks in high-risk indoor settings such as public transport, justice facilities, correctional facilities, hospitals and aged care.

 

We would also draw your attention to this question on the Coronavirus website:

Can an employer compel a worker to return to the office?

Under the Chief Health Officer’s Directions, employers are responsible for ensuring that everyone who comes to work is fully vaccinated, and that the work premises comply with all other COVIDSafe requirements. This includes density quotients, checking in when entering the premises and record-keeping.

Whether an employer decides to compel workers to work on-site is a decision for the employer. It is recommended that employers seek legal advice that considers their unique circumstances, including worker contracts, awards, enterprise agreements and any other relevant factors. 

 

 

October 25, 2021

The Victorian Industry Coordination Centre has today circulated advice to the Institute and other industry bodies in the construction sector as follows:

“Given high vaccination rates and low levels of interaction with the public, the following requirements no longer apply to the construction sector:

  • baseline daily workforce limits
    • travel restrictions between metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria
    • attestation requirements
    • crib room requirements (compliance with best practice standards is recommended).

Of particular note is that Construction site operators are no longer required to send attestation information to Services Victoria about workers’ vaccination status. However, as set out in COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions (No 10) effective October 21 to November 18, construction site operators must still collect, record and hold vaccination information and take reasonable steps to prevent entry of unvaccinated workers. If  an operator does not hold vaccination information about a worker, the operator must treat the worker as if the worker is unvaccinated.

Workers at all construction sites will need to adhere to the schedule in the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions, requiring them to have had their first vaccination dose by Friday 22 October and a second vaccination dose by Saturday 13 November.

Other COVIDSafe requirements also continue to apply as set out in the advisory email:

  • Vaccination– . 
  • Face masks– Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors by anyone aged 12 years and over, whenever you leave your home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.  
  • COVIDSafe Plan– you must ensure your COVIDSafe Plan is up to date. 
  • Limit of movement of workers between sites until Phase C of Victoria’s Roadmap is reached, worker movement between multiple construction sites will be limited.  This applies except in relation to:
    • supervisors on small-scale construction sites, who can move between multiple small-scale construction sites; or
    • specialist contractors who can move between up to three construction sites per week; or
    • specialists who provide safety services; or
    • those required to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements (for example, auditors, building inspectors or surveyors);
  • worker bubbles so that workers work consistently with the same group of other construction workers where reasonably practicable including working in separate shifts and taking separate breaks.
  • Density quotient– your workplace must observe a density quotient of one person per four square metres in shared or publicly accessible spaces. 
  • Record keeping– employers must keep records to show compliance with the Directions including work premises rosters, time and attendance records and payroll data. You must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in workers. 
  • Surveillance testing– construction sites with more than 400 workers must participate in surveillance testing, in accordance with the Surveillance Testing Industry List.
  • Signage – you must display signage at each public entry to indoor and outdoor spaces. This must show the capacity and face mask requirements. You must also display Service Victoria QR Codes at every public entrance. Visit Signs, Posters and Templates for your workplace.

 

October 20, 2021

Remaining workforce reductions at all construction sites will be removed 11.59pm this Thursday night 21 October, once 70% of the population aged 16 and over has had two doses. This means:

  • All construction projects (large-scale and small-scale construction and early-stage land development projects) can return to 100% of their workforce
  • Workers at all construction sites will need to adhere to the schedule in the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions, requiring them to have had their first vaccination dose by 2 October 2021, and a second vaccination dose by 13 November 2021.

Further information can be found on the state government’s Construction Sector Guidance

 

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