CFMEU VIC/TAS to Expand On-Site COVID-19 Testing

July 13, 2020

While early adaptation of on-site hygiene practices, including safety, physical distancing rules and staggered break times were implemented on construction sites to provide safer workplace practices – the increase in community virus transmissions has necessitated further safety measures.

Michael Paynter, Liaison Officer, Building and Construction Industry, will brief up to 200 construction Health and Safety (H&S) representatives to ensure they are armed with all guidelines for safe work practices.

The briefing initiative will help ensure H&S representatives have the capability to assist the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with workplace mapping of close and casual contact of workers who have tested positive to COVID-19.

Mr Paynter said, ‘By briefing on-site H&S representatives, we will be better positioned to assist with workplace mapping, all of which will further strengthen the health and safety platform for building and construction workers – and in turn – keep our Industry operational.’

CFMEU officials closed a site in Melbourne’s inner west where 11 positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. The CFMEU in conjunction with site management immediately shut the site after the first case was confirmed (four days prior to the DHHS instruction) preventing any further opportunities for the virus to spread amongst workers.

Yesterday, DHHS contacted the relevant site management to perform further contact tracing, instructing the job to remain shut for the next two weeks, with no workers to return to the site without proof of a negative test result.

John Setka CFMEU Secretary Vic/Tas said, ‘Our commitment to the health and safety of our workers has always been paramount and we’ve done a great job so far; but we need to do more to look after each other, our families and the community. So, if you or anyone in your household is unwell, stay home and get tested.’

The CFMEU remains committed to the implementation of COVID-19 safety procedures to ensure the protection of all construction workers. The current industry guidelines are first class, with daily on-site virus testing clinics. To date, well over 6,000 workers have been tested at more than 100 construction sites around Melbourne.

It is critical that the industry continues to move forward with health and safety testing clinics for all construction workers and expanding safety measures where and when required.