COVID-19 information for our workforce

Posted by on 26/03/2020

Last reviewed: 20 April 2022


We are prepared – business continuity
Extrastaff 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, Extrastaff 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


Extrastaff mandatory notification protocol
Extrastaff mandatory notification protocol for on-hire staff, has been reviewed on 8 January 2021 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 testing for COVID-19

  • Must adhere to recommendations made regarding isolation

  • Must not attend work until cleared to do so and can provide evidence

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

  • Muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite

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
 

International travel:

Australia’s borders are now open with travel restrictions that apply. This process is managed by the Department of Home Affairs and the restrictions and exemptions can be reviewed on their website, including state and territory entry requirements:
 https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

 

Interstate, territory and regional travel:

You must comply with requirements in the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to. This includes quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements. Restrictions may change at short notice. Information for interstate travel and COVID-19 restrictions is available here;
 https://www.australia.gov.au/states


Staff are required to:
 
  • Keep informed and observe the entry or restriction requirements of their state and locality if undertaking state, territory and interstate travel.
  • Contact your Manager/Supervisor IMMEDIATELY if your travel to/from interstate may impact your work.

Emergency and health workers, and essential workers may be considered exempt from some restrictions. 

The situation changes often. 

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

Check your local state and territory website for directives, hotspot information and travel restrictions. Links for each state and territory can be found here including the COVID-19 Restriction Checker:
https://www.australia.gov.au/

  • 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:

  • 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 Extrastaff as per compliance with this protocol.

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

Extrastaff 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, Extrastaff 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

Extrastaff has an obligation to staff, clients and workers 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

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
 
COVID-19 Information for Workplaces. Industry based information as well as state or territory applicable rules. 
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/general-industry-information/hygiene?tab=tab-toc-worker
   
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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