COVID-19 information for our workforce

Apprenticeship Careers Australia are closely monitoring the official Government sources and the World Health Organisation for the most up to date information and advice.

Updated: 9 July, 2020


We are prepared – business continuity

Apprenticeship Careers Australia established its own task force responsible for overseeing the situation, ensuring that current and evolving protocols identify risk of infection, and ensure COVIDsafe and infection control procedures are effectively implemented and adhered to. Successful implementation of remote work technologies has ensured continuation of the quality service our clients have come to expect.


The ‘New’ business as usual: COVIDsafe

Since the emergence of COVID-19, business is not the same as before. The good news is, by taking the right measures, Apprenticeship Careers Australia has demonstrated business can continue and we can assist our clients, customers and employees, to be safe and flourish. Guided by the governance of our Clinical and Senior Leadership Team, these steps are being undertaken to protect our staff and customers:
 

  • Proactive screening, risk assessment and review of staff and clients, and ongoing monitoring

  • Adhering to government advice on when our employees should wear PPE and rapidly updating our practices if government advice changes

  • Communicating our Emergency Preparedness and Mandatory Notification requirements to employees

  • Providing clear directives that our employees must not come to work or visit clients or customers if they are unwell. In particular, if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) or have had close contact with someone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19, or someone who is currently being tested for COVID-19

  • Adoption of new work schedule and hygiene practices, tailored to the client and work environment

  • Reinforcing handwashing and hand-sanitising protocols

  • Staying up-to-date with the latest news on COVID-19, released by the applicable state and national government agencies, and communicating this to staff and customers.

  • Keeping staff informed via website FAQs and resources, and the online learning module: Returning to Work Safely module for candidates  

  • Monitoring the mental wellbeing of staff and clients, providing access to support services as  required


Apprenticeship Careers Australia mandatory notification protocol
Apprenticeship Careers Australia mandatory notification protocol for on-hire staff, has been reviewed on 1 July 2020 based on the Australian Department of Health Guidelines.

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, or contacted by a Health Department/Public Health Unit and asked to self-isolate:

  • Must comply with medical & Health Department advice

  • Must advise their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY


Anyone who believes they have been in close contact (being face to face for at least 15-mins, or been in the same closed space for at least 2-hrs) with a confirmed COVID-19 positive person:

  • Must advise their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY

  • Must seek medical attention for consideration of testing for COVID-19

  • Must not attend work until cleared by a medical practitioner

If an employee suspects that they may be infected and are waiting on test results but cannot be isolated at home, they will need to contact a public health unit who will assess and advise on the next steps.

Anyone who is unwell and has *flu-like symptoms:

  • Must contact their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY

  • Must seek medical attention for consideration of testing for COVID-19

  • Provide a medical note for return to work

* flu-like symptoms: People with coronavirus may experience:

  • Fever

  • Flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue

  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)

  • Loss of smell and loss of taste.

Reference: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19#symptoms
 
Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. Anyone entering or returning to Australia:

  • Must observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement at designated facilities as required by the Department of Home Affairs  

  • Must contact their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY

International travel:

  • On 24 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. This will help prevent travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus.

  • There are limited exceptions, for example to allow people to return home if their normal place of residence is overseas. This process is managed by the Department of Home Affairs and the revised restrictions can be reviewed on their website. 

Staff who remain overseas and are unable to return

  • Must contact their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY

  • Must observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement on your return to Australia 

Staff who have recently returned from interstate and must meet current State Border closure restrictions: 

  • Must contact their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY

  • Must observe the state border control requirements, other than for seeking individual medical care

COVID-19 Border closures requiring mandatory self-isolation, remain in effect in several Australian states. Emergency and health workers, and essential workers may be considered exempt from some restrictions.
With the recent changes to state border controls we have prepared the below summary of these restrictions and what exceptions are in place for essential services.

Intrastate and Regional Hotspot Restrictions:
Travel within a state may see restrictions if there are declared ‘hotspots’ of infection.

Staff are required to:

  • Keep informed and observe the lockdown requirements of their locality

  • Contact their Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY if their travel to/from hotspots may impact their work.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have checked the relevant Government advice in the links provided for the most up-to-date information.

The Healthdirect Australia Restriction Checker has advice on what restrictions are in place in each state and territory across Australia.

NSW:    NSW Government Health 
SA:       SA Health 
VIC:      Victorian Health and Human Services   
ACT:     ACT Government Health 
* WA:    Western Australia Department of Health  
* QLD:  QLD Government  
* NT:     Northern Territory Government  

* Indigenous Communities: Government and Community Directions are in place to restrict the movement of people in and out of remote areas. Healthcare staff are required to meet the requirements of the specific local community risk assessment process and permit systems. Restrictions that apply in remote communities is available at: Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships website.

Facility-based restrictions:

  • Certain health services/clients/host employers are implementing restrictions on staff entry requirements, based on the above criteria

  • It is therefore essential that you contact us if you believe your circumstances are within the criteria above

  • Aged Care Facilities must take extra precautions due to the vulnerability of their residents including only accepting staff who have received this year’s flu vaccination, unless they have a documented medical contraindication to receiving the vaccine. 

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-workers-in-residential-aged-care-facilities

Worker screening:
New candidates and employees will be asked to complete a survey prior to attending an interview, or a new assignment to confirm:

  • Any recent international, interstate or regional hotshot travel and two-week self-isolation details

  • Not experiencing flu like symptoms

  • Any close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19


Notification to host employers of on-hire worker with confirmed case of COVID-19
If an on-hire staff member is confirmed as positive for COVID-19, the staff member must inform Apprenticeship Careers Australia as per compliance with this protocol.

Once informed, Apprenticeship Careers Australia will, under the direction of the Public Health Unit seek to facilitate notification to host employers/clients, as per their requirements.

Apprenticeship Careers Australia will seek the authority from the worker to release this information to at risk host workplaces / clients, as determined by risk assessment of diagnosis and work placement timelines, an as per the direction of the Public Health Unit or Health Department.

Whilst worker consent is also sought, Apprenticeship Careers Australia notes there is also an exception under the Privacy Act around disclosure without consent, if we reasonably believe the use or disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety.
 
Keeping up to date:
Australia’s current situation is changing rapidly. You can keep up to date with these changes via the following sites:

1. Health:
Australian Government Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/

NSW Health: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/control guideline/Pages/novel-coronavirus.aspx

Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

CDNA National guidelines for public health units: National Guidelines developed in consultation with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia and endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdna-song-novel-coronavirus.htm

2. Travel:
Department of Home Affairs: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus

Apprenticeship Careers Australia has an obligation to staff, clients, apprentices and trainees to ensure the safety of all concerned and will continue to monitor and update guidelines and processes based on the health departments recommendations.

As your employer, we request that we are kept informed of any change in your status and your progress as per this notification protocol.

If you believe, your circumstances are within the criteria above or if you wish to speak to someone regarding your personal circumstances, please contact your Manager/ Supervisor IMMEDIATELY.

 

Helpful links and resources

If you have any further questions, please see our FAQs.

Physical distancing in the workplace:
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/general-industry-information/physical?tab=tab-toc-worker
 
Hygiene in the workplace:
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/general-industry-information/hygiene?tab=tab-toc-worker
 
Face Masks:
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/general-industry-information/masks?tab=tab-toc-worker
 
COVID-19 – Know the signs: 
https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-know-the-signs-coronavirus-covid-19-know-the-signs-poster_0.pdf  

Coronavirus (COVIS-19) isolation guidelines: 
https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance_2.pdf  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information about home isolation when unwell (suspected or confirmed cases) and about returning to your community: 
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/isolation-for-coronavirus-covid-19
 
Physical Distancing Guidelines: 
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others-from-coronavirus-covid-19/physical-distancing-for-coronavirus-covid-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for health care and residential care workers: 
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-health-care-and-residential-care-workers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health workforce during COVID-19:
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-the-health-and-aged-care-sector/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-for-the-health-workforce-during-covid-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities:
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidelines-for-outbreaks-in-residential-care-facilities

Information on work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers: 
https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-work-attendance-and-testing-for-health-and-residential-aged-care-workers
 

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