WA has activated the Very High Case Load Settings that were previewed in January.  For fuel retail and wholesale,  which is a critical industry staffed almost entirely by critical workers, this means that the critical worker close contact protocols are now available for use.  The questions have been coming thick and fast so ACAPMA has pulled together this Q & A to guide businesses through the nuances.

Very High Caseload settings in effect from midnight 10/3/2022 – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/very-high-caseload-settings-introduced-western-australia

For CRITICAL WORKERS who are deemed to be close contacts modified responses NOW APPLY .  The option for a critical worker who is a close contact to come into work during their isolation period is NOW ACTIVE.

Fuel Retail, Wholesale and Transport are critical industries and all workers that are required to keep the delivery of the essential service going, and who can not do their work from home are critical workers.

Critical workers that are registered are able to work through their isolation period if certain conditions are met.

POSITIVE COVID CASES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK!!!!!!

The Very High Case Load Settings means that the Furlough period is active and that CRITICAL WORKERS who are deemed to be a CLOSE CONTACT

    • Will need to self-isolate for seven days from the date of contact with positive case, but may attend work (and only work no other venues) during self isolation if;
      • they agree to work through their isolation period as a critical worker
      • they return a negative result on a RAT
      • they have no symptoms
      • they wear a mask
    • During seven day isolation if symptoms develop, take a PCR or RAT test;
      • if positive – follow positive case guidelines
    • After seven day isolation period, if still asymptomatic, take a RAT on Day 7 to see if you can leave self isolation for activities not connected to your critical work.
      • if positive – follow positive case guidelines.
      • if negative – and no new household members have tested positive – self-isolation ends after Day 7, and people should monitor for symptoms.

Q & A with ACAPMA

 We have staff who are 2 days into their close contact isolation now can we bring them into work now?

Yes…but only if they have been registered, agree, return a negative RAT and wear a mask

We have registered staff as Critical Workers on the link but we have not heard back – do we have to wait for authorisation or confirmation?

No, as long as you have registered the staff you can proceed to activate those critical worker status as needed

Do the masks that Critical Workers wear have to be n95?

No…the requirement is for a surgical mask, but the preference, particularly for those coming into contact with the general public, like fuel retail staff, to be wearing an n95 mask wherever possible

Who has to supply the RATs that the Critical Workers take?

As a Critical Worker the employee can collect RATS from State Testing Clinics –  https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2022/03/New-collection-site-for-WAs-free-Rapid-Antigen-Test-Program.aspx – but if they are unable to source them through this method the business will need to supply them if they want the staff to come into work

When does the Critical Worker do the RAT?

Before they leave their home ideally, and the business should be keeping a record of the results of the RATs – texts and photos

Can the business require that a critical worker come to work in the isolation period?

NO!  Coming to work in the isolation period is voluntary, so any direction that the business gives the employee to “just come in” would be an unreasonable direction.  The business can not force the employee to come in, and cannot terminate, standdown or change the employees employment because they are a close contact or because they have asserted their right not to come in during their isolation period

More Information

Graphical guidance includes specific instructions for CRITICAL WORKERS including;

  • Petrol Station workers
  • Roadhouse and Truck Stop workers
  • Fuel Transport workers (including tanker drivers, warehouse workers and other workers who cannot complete their critical tasks from home)

https://www.wa.gov.au/system/files/2022-02/COVID-19_testing_and_isolation_guide_for_close_contacts_and_critical_workers.pdf

Critical Workers – Close Contact Direction – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/covid-transition-critical-worker-directions

Critical Workers – Testing and Isolation Guide – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/document-collections/covid-19-coronavirus-testing-and-isolation-guide

Critical Workers – Registration – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-coronavirus-critical-worker-furloughing-registration

Critical Workers – Registration FAQs – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/covid-19-coronavirus-critical-worker-furloughing-registration-frequently-asked-questions

Here to Help

ACAPMA Employment Department professionals are available to assist members with stand down and all employment provisions via employment@acapma.com.au

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice, Members are reminded that they can seek further advice on their situation by  emailing employment@acapma.com.au  its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $810 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Click  here to learn more about ACAPMA membership.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom (HRM & IR)
ACAPMA

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