|Covid Update – Food Industry – VICFollowing the announcement earlier in the week in relation to easing of restrictions in Victoria (see below) there are 2 new additional measures in place for those designated a high risk industry.
High Risk industries include supermarket distribution centres, large cold stores, dairy distribution centres along with meat, seafood and poultry processing. If your business operates in these areas there are two additional mitigation strategies to the High Risk COVID Safe Plans and the six existing principles of operation. These apply irrespective of regional or metro location.
Surveillance / Testing
The guidelines will require a minimum of 25% of staff on site to be tested in week one with 100% by week four. Three options for testing have been designed, they include
Option 1 – Existing relationship with a private pathology. If a businesses have an existing arrangement with a private pathology provider to undertake regular COVID-19 testing of their workfare they can continue with these arrangements. The company will pay for the specimen collection and DHHS will pay for the pathology (subject to DHHS agreed terms).
Option 2 – DHHS will allocate a private pathology provider to provide in-reach testing, with specimen collection arrangements negotiated directly between the company and the pathology provider. DHHS will pay costs of specimen collection and pathology.
Option 3 – Workers to be provided with a letter from DHHS (via the company) to say they are part of an asymptomatic surveillance testing program. Workers can present the letter at one of the 210 fixed testing sites around the state (but not Commonwealth funded respiratory clinics or pathology centres) and are tested. DHHS will pay costs of specimen collection and pathology.
Companies will receive a letter from DHHS with these options outlined and be required to advise there preference.
COVID Safe Marshalls
A COVID Safe Marshall must be appointed for high risk industries. Responsible for monitoring compliance and education of the workforce, the designated Marshall should dedicate a minimum of 50% of their time to this task and all shifts should be covered. Marshalls should undertake the Governments Infections Control training program and it is highly recommended they have appropriate first aid training. Further details on the roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements will be available shortly.
There will be a compliance grace period on requirements related to surveillance testing and COVID Marshalls. It is expected that high risk industry will have these two additional mitigation strategies in place by Thursday 8 October. The AFGC will provide further information as it comes to hand.