A novel (new) strain of coronavirus which originated in Hubei Province, China in 2019 can cause a respiratory disease called COVID-19. It doesn’t matter if you’re a worker or someone who is responsible for workers, Skills Force Australia will in a limited context identify and manage work health and safety risks including exposure to COVID-19. We are not health experts however we need to do our best to protect our clients, staff, and trainers noting that this is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans around the world.
Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The virus at this point is still new and as such Australian authorities are still learning more about it.
COVID-19 spreads from person to person in a similar way to the flu:
- From close contact with an infected person
- From touching objects or surfaces contaminated by the sneeze or cough of an infected
person and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth
COVID-19 can cause symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath. Most people who are infected experience mild to moderate symptoms from which they fully recover. However, some people develop a more serious illness with pneumonia and other complications.
People at increased risk of serious illness include the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart and lung disease) or a weakened immune system. It is important to remember that most people who become ill with respiratory symptoms at work are likely suffering from a cold, the flu or other respiratory illness – not COVID-19.
Self-quarantine (Staff and students should refer to their health provider for advice)
Workers and others cannot go to work and must self-quarantine for 14 days if they have:
- Recently travelled to an overseas destination considered high risk by the government
- Been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
Workers who need to self-quarantine should notify Skills Force Australia or their employer and stay away from work. They should seek immediate medical attention if they become ill during the quarantine period and call ahead of arriving and mention their travel or contact history.
Employers should make appropriate arrangements so that workers who need to self-quarantine stay away from work. Where possible, the worker should be provided with flexible work arrangements such as working from home.
Preventing the spread of infection
For most businesses such as Skills Force Australia (Small training groups), the health risk is low. Simple hygiene practices, similar to those used to protect against the flu, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
For our trainers and staff:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing,
dispose of tissues immediately after use and wash your hands or apply hand sanitiser
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
- Stay home if you are unwell
At this time we all need to work together to assist in stopping the virus from spreading. We ask that our clients ensure that their staff or students do not attend training if they feel unwell or are self-quarantined. Notification is required so that we may reschedule training.
Cancellation of training: In certain situations, Skills Force Australia may cancel training or work due to unforeseen circumstances or changes to government policy at any time. Clients may also need to cancel whereby Skills Force Australia will reschedule training to a suitable date after consultation with the client.
Students feeling unwell:
Firstly all staff, trainers and students should contact their workplace or Skills Force Australia if they are booked for training and stay at home if they are feeling unwell. Where trainers cannot attend training they should provide Skills Force Australia with as much advanced notice if possible so that we may arrange another trainer or reschedule training.
In class: If students are noticeably unwell or report to Skills Force staff/trainers that they feel unwell then this must be reported to either Skills Force management or to client management if training is being delivered away from Skills Force Australia.
Skills Force Australia resources:
- Provide hand washing facilities and make sure these are kept clean, properly stocked and in
good working order
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning supplies
- Promote good hygiene practices, e.g. display posters on handwashing and respiratory
- Keep the workplace clean and hygienic. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door
handles and workstations help prevent contamination
Skills Force staff and trainers are responsible for the cleanliness of our training equipment and must
follow these guidelines;
- Wipe all equipment likely to be used by students with alcohol wipes before use and after use
- Spray rooms with Glen 20 prior to training
- Ensure all first aid manikins are wiped clean using cleaning wipes before and after use by
each individual (First aid resources)
- Trainers must ensure that manikin training lung sets are replaced before use by another
student (First aid resources)
9th March 2020
Skills Force Australia