ASU delegates and Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) have been working hard to ascertain the response to COVID-19 in Out of Home Care (OoHC). This crisis is constantly changing. New adaptions are needed, and some organisations are doing better than others.
Good examples of organisations include robust precautions to protect both clients and workers and consultation with HSRs and delegates occurring. Concerning examples include lack of preparedness, lack of basic hygiene such as soap in houses, minimal to no consultation with HSRs and delegates and a general “business as usual” attitude.
DHHS has released a set of Guidelines for COVID-19 within the OoHC settings, last updated 25 March. Key points include:
- Ensuring workforce safety, health advice is adhered to, whilst maintaining essential service delivery.
- Advice on essential service delivery is unclear. It is laid out as a hierarchy depending on the level of client risk (Critical, Medium & Low), and corresponding modified duties for workers to stay safer. (See p. 17-18 of Guidelines for further detail for your job.)
- Staff must be provided with information, training, and equipment for effective infection control and hygiene practice.
- Physical distancing measures in Critical, Medium and Low Client Risk scenarios are provided such as:
- schedule or roster access to shared common areas in residential care houses
- limit people being in enclosed spaces with others to less than 2-hour durations
- Alternatives modes of service delivery where practicable e.g. phone or online.
- Avoiding the transport of clients unless an emergency.
- Supervise children’s whereabouts, keep at home, don’t give permission to attend group meetings with their friends.
Most services you deliver are essential, they must continue to be delivered. However, your employer has a duty to keep you safe and healthy at work, and a pandemic does not change this. The ASU can offer advice and assistance to HSRs and members in OoHC who are finding this situation overwhelming and unsure what measures should be in place to protect you.
A reminder that there are ASU Zoom meetings coming up on 8 April to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the sector. Members are strongly encouraged to attend one of the meetings. More info/ RSVP here.
If you have questions or concerns about the measures at your workplace please contact:
ASU Organiser Joanne McEvoy | 0437 035 721 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pass this newsletter on to your colleagues, encourage them to join the ASU Zoom meeting and actively look out for each other’s health and safety. If your colleagues aren’t yet members of the ASU, encourage them to join today. It’s quick and easy to join here
Want more info on COVID-19? https://www.asuvictas.com.au/covid-19-advice-and-information-from-the-asu/