COVID-19 Update: Current OFSC Audit Operations

23 August 2021

A message from the Federal Safety Commissioner, David Denney:

The current outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID-19 around Australia is the most challenging phase of the pandemic we have faced so far. The building and construction industry, like many other sectors of the economy, has been hard hit by the Delta strain. At this critical time, it’s important we all do our part to help get through this most difficult time for our industry and our communities.

As Federal Safety Commissioner, I call on all accredited companies to comply with State and Territory Health Orders. If you can work at home, please do so. If you have to be on-site, please comply with all local requirements, including caps on worker numbers, limits on the number of sites able to be visited and any total closure of particular building activities.

To do our part to limit the risk of spreading the Delta strain, the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) is continuing to modify its on site audit arrangements. Our modified arrangements adopt a risk-based approach to auditing while still ensuring accountability for overseeing the safety of accredited companies.

  • Accreditation audits in areas were building work is restricted will be postponed until restrictions ease. Audits for priority accreditation applications (i.e. companies in current tenders for building work) will continue with the agreement of the company and subject to local restrictions.
  • Audits for low risk companies in restricted areas will generally be postponed until restrictions ease. However, compliance audits for these companies will continue where building work remains open.
  • Audits for medium and high risk companies will continue where building work remains open.

In areas where all construction work has been halted, all respective audits will be postponed until restrictions ease or, if possible, relocated to a different site which is not affected by closures. When audits occur, my Office will work closely with companies and Federal Safety Officers (FSOs) to minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission. We will endeavor to use a local FSO to undertake the audit, observe social distancing throughout the audit, and use technology to minimise the number of additional people required on-site during the audit, while complying with all Government health advice. Virtual auditing will also be considered where appropriate.

These adjustments have been made to help complement the nation-wide effort to combat COVID-19 while continuing the essential work of the Scheme which aims to ensure that building and construction workers get home safely every day. Onsite safety of workers must continue to be a priority for accredited companies alongside managing the risks of COVID-19.

My office have published a practical guide for accredited companies on minimising the spread of COVID-19 onsite. Previous COVID-19 advice, and links to state government websites can be found on our COVID-19 Advice for Accredited Companies page.

For additional information please email ofsc@jobs.gov.au.