Practices regarding hygiene, cleaning, physical distancing, record keeping, worker consultation and responding to suspected COVID incidents are among things which should be considered as builders prepare their High Risk COVIDSafe Plan, new guidance indicates.

Following directions for Melbourne’s construction industry issued by the Chief Medical Officer on Friday, Business Victoria has published several industry specific resources to help firms to prepare their High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

These include:

  • Guidelines on how to prepare the plan
  • A specific High Risk COVIDSafe Plan template for construction (required for each site you operate)
  • A High-Risk COVID Plan Attachment – Construction (accompanies your plan, required for each site you operate)

As per last week’s directions, those operating construction sites in metropolitan Melbourne are now required under Stage 4 COVID restrictions to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan as well as to restrict the number of people on site, implement physical distancing and limit movement of personnel between sites.

At a minimum, COVIDSafe Plans across all industries must include:

  • Processes for keeping records of workers or visitors who attend the site
  • Actions to mitigate the introduction of COVID-19 on site
  • The level of personal protective equipment (PPE) required by workers
  • Plans to prepare for, and respond to suspected or confirmed COVID cases
  • An acknowledgement of understanding of employer obligations under the Workplace Directions.

Whilst employers do not need to formally lodge their COVIDSafe Plan with the Government, they may be required to provide a copy of the plan to either the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or Worksafe upon request or in the event of a confirmed positive case. There will be random business spot checks for COVIDSafe Plans.

The guidelines also recommend that plans be shared both with workers and with occupational health and safety representatives so that those on site are familiar with requirements.


What Your Plan Should Cover

(Note: information below is a summary only. It is highly recommended that those operating construction sites read the detailed guidelines linked to above.)

According to the guidelines, actions which may be required to address COVID safety on construction sites include:



  • Provide and promote hand sanitiser stations for use on entering building and other locations in the worksite and ensure adequate supplies of hand soap and paper towels are available for staff.
  • Where possible: enhance airflow by opening windows and adjusting air conditioning.
  • In areas or workplaces where it is required, ensure all staff wear a face covering and/or required PPE, unless a lawful exception applies. Ensure adequate face coverings and PPE are available to staff that do not have their own.
  • Provide training to staff on the correct use and disposal of face coverings and PPE, and on good hygiene practices and slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Replace high-touch communal items with alternatives.



  • Increase environmental cleaning (including between changes of staff), ensure high touch surfaces (kitchen counters, lift buttons, door handles, shared equipment etc.) are cleaned and disinfected regularly (at least twice daily).
  • Ensure adequate supplies of cleaning products, including detergent and disinfectant.


Physical Distancing:

  • Ensure that all staff that can and/or must work from home, do work from home.
  • Establish a system that ensures staff members are not working across multiple settings/work sites.
  • Establish a system to screen workers and visitors before accessing the workplace. Employers cannot require workers to work when unwell.
  • Configure communal work areas and publicly accessible spaces so that:
    • there is no more than one worker per four square meters of enclosed workspace
    • workers are spaced at least 1.5m apart
    • there is no more than one member of the public per four square meters of publicly available space.
  • Also consider installing screens or barriers.
  • Use floor markings to provide minimum physical distancing guides between workstations or areas that are likely to create congregation of staff.
  • Modify the alignment of workstations so that workers do not face one another.
  • Minimise the build-up of workers waiting to enter and exit the workplace (different doors for entry and exit, contactless entry/exit systems, floor markings at entry/exit points).
  • Provide training to staff on physical distancing expectations while working and socialising (e.g. during lunch breaks).
  • Review delivery protocols to limit contact between delivery drivers and staff.
  • Review and update work rosters and timetables where possible to ensure temporal as well as physical distancing.
  • Where relevant, ensure clear and visible signage in areas that are open to the general public that specifies maximum occupancy of that space, as determined by the ‘four square metre’ rule.


Record Keeping:

  • Establish a process to record the attendance of workers, customers, clients, visitors and workplace inspectors, delivery drivers. This information will assist employers to identify close contacts.
  • Provide guidance to staff on the effective use of the workplace OHS reporting system (where available).


Consultation with workers:

  • Where reasonable and practical: hold consultations with workers to identify and assess the COVID-19 risks in the workplace that the employer can control.
  • Where reasonable and practical: hold consultations with workers to decide the measures to control COVID-19 risks in the workplace that the employer can control.
  • Where reasonable and practical: hold consultations with workers to decide what facilities are adequate to ensure the welfare of workers in light of any COVID-19 risk.
  • Where reasonable and practical: consult with workers to decide:
    • the procedures to resolve COVID-19 health and safety issues at a workplace under the employer’s management and control;
    • the consultation procedure in relation to health and safety risks;
    • the procedures to monitor the health of workers and the workplace conditions; and
    • the procedures to provide COVID-19 information and training to workers.
  • Where reasonable and practical: consult with workers when proposing changes that might affect the health or workers, whether this is changes to the workplace, the plants, equipment and tools used at the workplace, or the conduct of the work performed.
  • If workers are represented by a health and safety representative, you must involve the representative in all consultations.


Preparing or responding to suspected or confirmed COVID cases:

  • Prepare or update your business continuity plan to consider the impacts of an outbreak and potential closure of the workplace.
  • Prepare to identify close contacts and provide staff and visitor records to support contact tracing.
  • Prepare to assess whether the workplace or part of the workplace must be closed. Prepare to undertake cleaning and disinfection at your business premises.
  • Prepare for how you will manage a suspected or confirmed case in a worker during work hours.
  • Prepare to notify workforce and site visitors (including close contacts)
  • Prepare to immediately notify WorkSafe Victoria on 13 23 60 if you have a confirmed COVID-19 case at your workplace.
  • Prepare to immediately notify WorkSafe Victoria on 13 23 60 if you have a confirmed COVID-19 case at your workplace.
  • Prepare to re-open your workplace once agreed by DHHS and notify workers they can return to work.


COVIDSafe Plan Attachment

As mentioned above, the attachment accompanies your plan and is required on each construction site which you operate.

This covers the following:

  • Site details including address, contact details and a description of activities undertaken at the site
  • Plans to comply with additional requirements, such as establishing processes to maintain records and calculations used to establish restricted workforce levels, limiting movement between multiple work sites (keeping attendance records, adjusting rosters etc.), ensuring that workers do not carpool and communicating requirements with workers.
  • Calculation of the number of your daily worker limit under the new restrictions.

Further details are given in the aforementioned guide.

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