COVID-19 Update – Victorian OFSC Audits

The Victorian Government has announced Stay at Home Directions for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11:59pm on Wednesday 8 July until 11.59pm on Wednesday 19 August to help stop the spread of COVID-19 following the renewed outbreak in Melbourne.

Current advice from the Victorian Government indicates that residents are able to leave their house for work purposes if unable to work from home. This means that construction projects are likely to continue during this lockdown period as they have throughout the pandemic.

While it is concerning to see a spike in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne and it’s surrounds, as construction activity continues, so too will the efforts of the OFSC to ensure the health and safety of workers on these projects.

As always, the OFSC is mindful of the need to balance preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 with the critical need to ensure worker safety. As such, the OFSC will temporarily adjust its audit program in the lockdown region in line with program adjustments made during the height of the pandemic. This includes:

Identifying alternative locations outside of lockdown areas for audits wherever possible for companies that require audits.

Temporarily restricting OFSC audits in the lockdown areas to medium and high risk companies, as well as accreditation audits for companies in an active tender process for Commonwealth or State government funded building work.

Use of Victorian Federal Safety Officers (FSOs) to conduct audits within the lockdown areas.

Where on-site audits are required, working closely with companies and FSOs to minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission, including observing physical distancing throughout the audits, using technology to minimise the number of additional people required on-site during audits and complying with all company COVID-19 reduction strategies as well as Government health advice.

Federal Safety Commissioner, David Denney, said, ‘reintroduction of these temporary audit program adjustments is a necessary step in an ever changing COVID-19 environment. Workers can be confident that my office continues to keep its focus on ensuring their safety, as we expect accredited companies to do, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19’.

The OFSC continues to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations and will provide updates as changes to the way we work are required.