New restrictions for Victoria’s construction industry

Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash.

As Victorians saw a modest easing of restrictions from midnight of Friday 17 September as the state reached its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target, the construction industry workers started the week under some new restrictions.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced several changes to Victorian COVID restrictions for Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria, including some significant changes for the construction sector.

In light of the cases seeding from Melbourne into regional Victoria, construction workers will now not be able to cross the border between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat unless an exception applies. This means an employer for a City of Ballarat construction site cannot allow a construction worker to cross elsewhere in regional Victoria.

In order to continue working, construction workers state-wide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59pm Thursday, 23 September. Employers will be required to keep a record of their employees’ COVID-19 vaccinations.

All construction sites are now also required to have a COVID Check-in Marshall to ensure all employees are meeting their check-in duties, including QR code scans or providing alternative record keeping methods.

Construction sites should also implement worker shift bubbles, including staggering the start, finish and break times, to reduce mixing of workers in different bubbles.

Tea rooms will need to close and food or drink will not be able to be consumed indoors at work. Worker shift bubbles must be in practice and all sites will require a COVIDSafe Marshal on site.

All construction workforce limits will remain unchanged, which for large construction sites means being limited to a daily maximum of workers equating to 25 per cent of their baseline workforce, and/or five workers.

For small-scale construction sites, the workforce limit is five workers at any one time (excluding the site supervisor), unless an exception applies. Employers at these sites must also limit movement of workers between worksites.

Victorian Government Authorised Officers are closely monitoring and inspecting businesses to ensure they are following these principles. There are significant penalties, including fines and prohibition notices, for businesses that fail to comply.

Responding to the new requirements today, the Australian Construction Association (ACA) welcomed the vaccination mandate by the Victorian Government.

“ACA welcomes the mandating by the Victorian Government of vaccination for the construction sector. This clear direction will hopefully ensure a quick path to a full reopening of the industry,” a spokesperson from the association told Roads & Infrastructure.

Victoria’s roadmap out of COVID-10 lockdown restrictions aims to cautiously ease the movements of people as a greater portions of the adult population become vaccinated, as Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled on Saturday.

But the most substantial changes to the state’s restrictions won’t be made until 80 per cent of people are immunised, which is forecast to occur around November 5.

Construction workers can now access a priority vaccination booking by calling the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Limited walk-in appointments are also available for construction workers at the old Ford Factory in Campbellfield, the former Bunnings in Melton West, Eagle Stadium in Werribee and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

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