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Coronavirus information for industry - Cladding safety

Fact sheet for industry about coronavirus restrictions, and the Cladding Rectification Program.

All employers undertaking cladding rectification activities as part of the Cladding Rectification Program (the Program) are required to read and understand all relevant directions (the Directions) made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 available at Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website and updated from time to time. 

Obligations arising from the Directions are additional to employers’ other legal obligations, including those arising under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. 

We will continue to provide information and advice directly to builders and contractors involved in cladding rectification works about what they must do to keep workers and building residents safe due to coronavirus. 

Read sector guidance for construction businesses across Victoria.

Who is responsible for ensuring that cladding rectification activities comply with the safety requirements in the Directions?

We all have an important role in keeping each other safe.

The site manager is the party responsible for rectification activities onsite – whether for preparatory inspections, or for works related to the removal and replacement of cladding.

Sometimes the site manager will have been engaged by Cladding Safety Victoria. In other cases the site manager will have been engaged by the owners corporation.

Whichever the case, the site manager must have developed and implemented a COVIDSafe Plan to reduce the risks of transmission to and amongst people onsite.

Cladding Safety Victoria will provide oversight and support to site managers.

How do I prepare a COVIDSafe Plan?

Template plans to assist you are available on the Coronavirus Victoria website.

Businesses participating in cladding rectification activities must complete and regularly update their COVIDSafe Plan.

What training is available?

All workers attending site in relation to cladding rectification activities must undertake infection control training.  

Cladding Safety Victoria will support employers to provide this training if employers are unable to do so. 

Are apartments still being inspected?

Cladding Safety Victoria and its advisors are still inspecting apartment buildings.

However, we are only entering private apartments where:

  • It is necessary and safe to do so
  • Apartment occupiers consent to the entry
  • Apartment occupiers confirm that neither a confirmed case nor a close contact will be present during the inspection and
  • Apartment occupiers confirm that any persons regularly residing or present in the apartment and previously diagnosed with coronavirus have been cleared by the Department of Health and Human Services for at least 14 days

All persons entering common or private property must follow all necessary safety precautions including wearing and proper disposal appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

What will happen if there is a suspected coronavirus case on site?

Cladding Safety Victoria requires site managers to exercise constant vigilance with respect to any suspected cases of coronavirus on any cladding rectification site. Cladding Safety Victoria must be informed of any suspected coronavirus cases immediately.

An employer must not require a worker to perform work if the worker is displaying symptoms. The employer must direct any person displaying symptoms to return home immediately or self-isolate at the premises if it is not safe for the worker to travel home. The employer must advise the worker to get tested and to self-isolate while awaiting the result.

The employer must take all reasonably practicable steps to manage the risk of transmission, including by thoroughly cleaning the site and ensuring records are available for contact tracing if a suspected case becomes a confirmed case.

Guidelines for cleaning high-touch surfaces are available on the Coronavirus Victoria website.

What will happen is there is a confirmed coronavirus case on site?

A worker who has tested positive must immediately notify their employer at any work site they have attended during the 48-hour period before displaying any symptoms or having a test (if asymptomatic).

The employer must immediately undertake the following steps:

Requirement Implementation
1. Notify Government Mandatory notification to DHHS, WorkSafe and CSV
2. Direct the worker not to attend site and to self-isolate The worker is not permitted to attend site. If on site, employer must direct the worker to travel home or isolate on site if not safe to do so
3. Risk assess whether site should be closed for cleaning and contact tracing Relevant factors in the risk assessment include:
a) duration the worker was on-site
b) exposure of other persons to the worker who has tested positive
c) tasks undertaken by the worker who has tested positive
d) surfaces, tools, equipment, and plant touched or used by the worker who has tested positive and
e) location of tasks undertaken by the worker who has tested positive
4. Comprehensive clean of the site Irrespective of whether site is closed, the site must be comprehensively cleaned
5. Identify close contacts and advise them to self-quarantine Records will help identify any co-workers working in proximity of a worker who has tested positive
6. Notify all workers and inform them to be vigilant Informing other workers will support reduction in further transmission
7. Manage risks Assess and control risks of transmission amongst workers and to the community, especially building occupants
8. Contact DHHS and notify when actions have been taken DHHS must be notified when all steps completed
9. If site has been closed, do not re-open until contact tracing is complete and the site has been cleared for reopening and WorkSafe is notified If site closed, re-opening only when site has been cleared

Cladding Safety Victoria requires the immediate and complete cooperation of the site manager to ensure all building occupants are informed to reduce the risk of any breakout.

What if a building occupant tests positive to COVID-19 at an apartment complex where cladding rectification works are underway?

The owners corporation must inform Cladding Safety Victoria immediately if a building occupant tests positive to coronavirus.

Information about a positive case will allow us to act swiftly and implement safety precautions outlined in our COVIDSafe Plan as quickly as possible. 

Where can I find more information?

Reviewed 19 January 2021

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