Responding to COVID-19 (Corona Virus)

Wednesday, 18th March 2020
Article Type: Media Release

Last updated 7 April 2020

Watpac is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and has mobilised a team to lead our ongoing response

Safeguarding the physical and mental health and safety of our people and their families, our sub-contractors, customers and partners as well as the broader community is our highest priority.

Our safety measures are aligned with the advice provided by the Australian Government Department of Health, State Governments and Health Authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and State Health and Safety Regulators.

Business and job continuity       

Watpac is continuing to operate, while implementing additional safety measures to support our people and thousands of Australians employed through our supply chain. We are providing information and advice to our people regularly through a dedicated Intranet page, email and video updates, visuals at offices and sites, and SMS alerts as required. Wherever possible, our office-based staff are working remotely and external meetings are conducted by phone or virtually. Office meeting rooms and indoor areas have been reviewed to support social distancing of 4 square metres. 

Site safety 

All construction sites remain open and we are working closely with our supply chain. As a priority, we continue to roll out additional site safety procedures that firmly focus on hygiene, cleaning and social distancing, including:

  • Protocols relating to coughing, sneezing, hand washing and the use of sanitisers especially when entering site and accessing lifts/hoists;
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of site amenities, hoists, lifts and frequent touch surfaces;
  • Avoiding unnecessary in-person meetings by encouraging virtual meetings, with increased provision onsite for those options;
  • Providing adequate facilities for social distancing in enclosed areas such as site offices, break rooms, lifts and hoists;
  • Clearly delineated and designated work areas and access paths to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements;
  • Protocols for social distancing to ensure workers maintain, as far as reasonably practical, a distance of at least 1.5 metres when working outdoors and no more than one person per 4 square metres when indoors – where these measures cannot be implemented, a risk assessment must be completed to determine whether the task can proceed and/or identify additional control measures to further manage the risk;
  • Prohibiting all gatherings and/or queuing of workers with extra measures in place to prevent queuing when entering or exiting the project, at lifts and hoists and at canteens etc.;
  • Extra PPE for lift/hoist drivers including P2 face mask, gloves, glasses and hand sanitiser, as well as rotating hoist driver shifts every two hours;
  • Additional social distancing measures to facilitate 4 square metres per person as a minimum such as partitions in large rooms, excess tables and chairs removed from lunchrooms, and rotating breaks split across several locations;
  • Rolling shift starts, break times and allotted times to access lifts/hoists as well as limiting numbers of workers permitted in the lift at any one time and limiting number of floors serviced;
  • Protocols to engage with Occupational Hygienists to provide directions and certification of industrial cleaning and sanitisation undertaken in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case;
  • Monitoring and enforcement of social distancing requirements;
  • Strict protocols for anyone feeling unwell or with actual or potential exposure to COVID-19, including self-isolation for anyone returning from interstate or overseas as prescribed by the Federal and State Governments.

To support these measures, self-assessment for each site has been mandated with additional site supervision and tools to support this. Our teams are monitoring the situation, hazards, associated risks and the implementation of control measures daily.

Travel

All domestic travel is restricted to business-critical travel only and all international business travel is suspended until further notice. 

Self-isolation

Watpac is directing people to self-isolate in line with latest Australian Government advice and mandatory requirements.

All members of our internal and external network are being encouraged to play their role to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Watpac is closely monitoring the evolving situation with priority being placed on the physical and mental wellbeing of all involved. 

For further information on Watpac’s response to COVID-19, please email communication@watpac.com.au .