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Measures for prevention of COVID-19 on renewable energy construction sites

The Clean Energy Council has outlined a list of measures that renewable energy construction projects are taking to protect the safety and wellbeing of personnel and host communities.

Measures to protect host communities

The renewable energy sector recognises that it has a responsibility to ensure that it protects the wellbeing of its host communities and the following principles are being adopted by our members:

  • Promoting government guidance across the entire project workforce. Projects reinforce the latest government guidance on physical distancing, personal health and hygiene measures and travel needs in their regular workforce communications.
  • Minimising travel needs. Worker travel is minimised to commuting between the project site, accommodation and shopping for essential needs.
  • Crews housed together, isolated from other crews. Renewable energy projects seek to maximise local employment and supply opportunities wherever possible. Where non-local workers are required to be housed in the local community, work crews are kept together in consistent groups for their housing, travel and working arrangements in order to minimise cross exposure between different crews.

Measures to reduce risks in travelling to and from site

Risks to personnel travelling to and from the project work sites are being managed through the following measures:

  • Working from home where possible. Demobilisation of non-essential project personnel to work away from site and the local community.
  • Vehicles allocated to a single crew. For essential workers, vehicles are allocated to a single crew for travel to, from and around site to reduce cross-contamination risks.
  • Frequent cleaning. Frequent cleaning is undertaken of project vehicles.

Measures to reduce risks in working on site

Our members have, and will continue to, modify work sites, rosters, procedures and support for their people in order to put the health and safety of their work teams first as they seek to maintain construction continuity. Measures they are implementing include:

  • Health and travel declarations following an absence from site. Personnel are required to provide a health and travel declaration prior to returning to site following an absence/rostered day off. Any workers who have been overseas prior to returning to work, must have observed the government’s guidance for a 14-day period of self-quarantining.
  • Tight control of access to the main project office/work site. Access is limited to screened project personnel and scheduled deliveries.
  • Frequent cleaning of facilities and equipment to reduce contact transmission potential. This includes regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and the increased frequency of industrial grade cleaning.
  • Promoting and supporting good personal hygiene practices. Hand washing stations and sanitiser is placed in prominent locations around the site, accompanied by the prominent display of government health advice to promote ongoing personal hygiene.
  • Team meetings conducted out in the open, or at a distance. Daily toolbox meetings of essential personnel held in open areas in small groups or via video/teleconference. Meetings include reinforcement of the government’s health guidance.
  • Ensuring that physical distancing can be safely achieved. Revision of all work plans to enable physical distancing measures to be observed. Where distancing is not practicable for certain tasks, the use of additional PPE is prescribed.
  • Staggered meal breaks or designation of separate mess areas for different crews.
  • Supporting our people’s mental wellbeing. Implementation of initiatives to support the mental health of our personnel during these challenging times.

Measures where there has been a case of infection on site

If a worker is diagnosed with or believes they may have COVID-19, the following principles are to be applied:

  • Where a worker experiences COVID-19-like symptoms. If a worker experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms is at work, he/she is required to inform their employer, leave work immediately and call the COVID-19 hotline.
  • Worker to stay home and self-isolate. Where a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the infected worker must not attend work and must inform their employer. (Sub-contractors are also required to inform the principal contractor).
  • Workforce notified. All project personnel will be identified and notified if they had close or casual contact with the worker or where the worker was on site. Where another worker is identified as being a close contact, he/she must self-quarantine at home. Where another worker is identified as a casual contact, he/she must monitor themselves for 14 days and is not required to self-quarantine.

These measures will continue to be reviewed and updated in line with government advice.