Rencon Forestry Pty Ltd t/a Rencon Air & Land (Rencon Air & Land) recognises the critical timing and importance of action to ensure our company fully and properly responds to the current COVID-19 crisis. In doing so, the company will focus on the formal advice from the Australian and Victorian Governments and ensure a safe, evidence-based response rolls out across the region.
The aim of this Management Plan is to:
- Ensure our personnel, clients, landholders, contractors, partners and communities work with us in a healthy and safe way.
- Do our part in minimising the spread of COVID-19 virus.
- Ensure business continuity to every extent possible under the circumstances.
The Rencon Air & Land plan is structured to follow the Australian Pandemic Phases. Each alert phase coincides with a series of activities. Changes from one phase to another are triggered by several factors, which include the epidemiological behaviour of the disease, the characteristics of circulating viruses and direction from the Australian and Victorian Governments. The plan will be updated and revised as advice from governments develops.
Physical distancing – keeping everyone at the workplace at least 1.5 metres physically apart – will be challenging in some workplaces and for some activities, but it is a key measure to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
- Limit physical interactions between fellow staff, clients and other contractors.
- Postpone non-essential gatherings or training.
- Review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between staff where practical and safe to do so.
- For essential gatherings, conduct in spaces that enable workers to keep the required physical distance of at least 1.5 metres, ideally outdoor spaces.
- Use methods such as mobile phone, video conferencing or radio to communicate.
- Reduce the number of workers utilising common areas at a given time (e.g. by staggering meal breaks and start times).
- Only two staff per vehicle are to travel at any one time and every effort to be made where possible to ensure these two are regular and not swapping every day.
- Spread out furniture in common areas if applicable.
- Place signage about physical distancing around the workplace.
- Nominate responsible persons to make sure your workers are following the rules for physical distancing.
If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks (e.g. because they impact communication), we need to manage those risks too.
HEALTH CHECKS AND QUARANTINE
Staff to be monitored for key symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever.
All staff (whether they are at the workplace or not) to report to their supervisor if:
- you are experiencing any symptoms
- have been, or have potentially been, exposed to a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19 (even if the person who is suspected to have COVID-19 has not yet been tested), or
- have undertaken, or are planning to undertake, any travel.
- Staff to report if they observe another worker displaying any symptoms.
- Staff to stop working if they are displaying symptoms.
- Any staff who have contracted COVID-19 are not able to return to the workplace until they provide evidence, they are clear of the virus.
- Staff are not to travel to local communities during time off other than to get essential supplies.
The amount of time COVID-19 survives on objects and surfaces will vary. Environmental cleaning is one way to remove COVID-19 particles.
Usual cleaning schedules will need to be increased.
- Frequently touched surfaces, including handrails and doors, should be cleaned and disinfected frequently using appropriate detergent or disinfectant solutions.
- Personal items used in the workplace such as glasses and phones should be cleansed and disinfected frequently (e.g. by using isopropyl alcohol wipes).
- Workplace amenities including kitchens, lunchrooms, common areas, change rooms, toilets, showers, should be cleaned industrially and the frequency of this cleaning should increase.
Also consider reducing the number of touch points. For example, leaving access doors open, where appropriate.
Staff to be provided with cleaning agents to clean down and disinfect plant or equipment (e.g. utes, saws, tools) immediately after use. Workers should each be provided with their own equipment if possible.
To minimise the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus the person cleaning should wear gloves and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves. Gloves and alcohol-based hand sanitiser should be made available throughout the workplace.
The workplace should provide closed bins for workers to hygienically dispose of waste and rubbish such as used tissues, immediately (or if away from amenities, as soon as possible) after use. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser should be available for workers to use after they dispose of their waste.
Workplaces should consider limiting or reducing recirculated air-conditioning in common areas.
See the Department of Health information sheet on Environmental cleaning and disinfection-principles for COVID-19 for further information.
Staff are required to practice good hygiene at all times. This includes:
- covering coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a tissue.
- disposing of tissues properly.
- washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- using alcohol-based hand sanitisers with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient.
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- washing body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day
- staying more than 1.5 metres away from others, and
- reporting and staying home if experiencing any symptoms.
In addition, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workers should also:
- avoid touching their face
- avoid handshakes or any other close physical contact
- refrain from spitting at all times, and
- put cigarette butts in the bin.
Washroom facilities should have adequate supplies for good hygiene, such as adequate supply of soap, water and toilet paper. Washroom facilities must be kept clean, properly stocked and in good working order.
Workplaces should also be well stocked with alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Workplace etiquette: When utilising common areas (clean up after yourself, place rubbish in bins provided or provide your own, avoid putting items such as phones on meal surfaces etc.) This could be in a ute, buggy, or in a designated car park on site.
Deliveries and other contractors attending the workplace
- Non-essential visits to the workplace should be cancelled or postponed.
- Deliveries and other contractors who need to attend the workplace should be given clear instructions of your requirements while they are on site.
- Minimise the number of staff attending to deliveries and contractors as much as possible. Make alcohol-based hand sanitiser available for workers after physically handling deliveries.
- Direct visiting truck drivers to remain in vehicles and use contactless methods such as mobile phones to communicate with your workers wherever possible.
- Use, and ask deliveries and contractors to use, electronic paperwork where possible, to minimise physical interaction. Where possible, set up alternatives to requiring signatures. For instance, see whether a confirmation email or a photo of the loaded or unloaded goods can be accepted as proof of delivery or collection (as applicable).
Consultation and communicating with staff
All workers get provided information about the risks of exposure to the COVID-19 virus through our what’s-app work group chat rooms as well as email when required. Government Health posters have been pinned in relevant workplaces reminding staff of safe work practices.
Some states and territories have largely closed their borders, requiring people arriving from interstate to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. However, there are some exemptions, including services that support forestry. Contacting police and Govt authorities prior to the time of travel is essential if required to for work purposes.
What else can we do?
Keep your knowledge of the COVID-19 situation up to date. Follow advice from authoritative sources such as the Australian Government Department of Health and check daily for any updates to safety advice. Understand our business and its WHS hazards and risks.