By Robby Magyar
In response to a record number of COVID-19 transmissions, the Victorian Government has announced a four-week compliance blitz within the construction industry in the hope of slowing down the spread of the latest outbreak.
The blitz will assist small-to-medium sized businesses in supporting their highly mobile and young workforce to understand their obligations under the Chief Health Officer’s directions. In addition, where non-compliance with public health directives is found, fines and prohibition notices will be issued.
The Industry Enforcement Engagement operation, Work Safe, and the Victoria Building Authority will be taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to breaches of health orders. There will be 50 teams of inspectors set to be out each day to ensure construction sites and workers are doing the right thing.
Treasurer Tim Pallas said: “The construction sector’s ability to remain open is on a knife’s edge, and to ensure they can keep building, people need to get vaccinated and follow the rules.”
All construction workers must check-in when entering a site using the Victorian Government QR Code Service, and always wear a face mask, unless an exemption applies. Employers are required to ensure their employees abide by these directions. Fines apply to individuals and businesses for breaches of these directives.
Increased access to COVID-19 vaccinations has also been announced for construction workers, with a further 20,000 priority Pfizer appointments and unlimited priority access to AstraZeneca walk-in appointments becoming available in the coming days.
Minister for Health, Martin Foley, said: “Ensuring easy access to vaccinations for this industry will help slow the spread of the virus and prevent further infections in the long run.”
Those eligible for priority vaccinations include workers at sites where civil works, building or construction occurs, and includes contractors and architects working on site.
Eligible workers wishing to book a Pfizer appointment should contact the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 before Friday 17 September 2021 to ensure they can receive priority access before the cut-off date of 26 September 2021.
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Robby Magyar is a Workplace Relations Consultant at HR Assured, who has been assisting clients across Australia from a range of industries and businesses with their work-related COVID-19 questions.