Distribution centres have been classified as a high-risk workplace for COVID-19. So the Victorian Government will be increasing their inspection and enforcement activities at distribution centres across the state.
Here is what you need to know.
1- Who will be conducting the blitz?
Victoria Police, WorkSafe and Emergency Management Victoria will conduct the inspection and enforcement activities.
2- What are they looking for?
What measures the company is taking to protect workers from COVID-19.
Whether people are wearing masks
Whether people who are sick are staying at home
3- Why the increased enforcement activity?
Two Woolworths distribution centres in South- East Melbourne have been shut down after 17 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus.
Distribution centres are particularly high risk for the following reasons:
a- People are working in close proximity indoors in an environment where the air is circulated using refrigeration.
b- Products and packaging are sourced externally.
c- If the virus is on a package, that package is handled by a number of people which increases the risk to each person who handles the package and each person they interact with throughout the day and to people who handle the package across the supply chain through to the consumer.
4- If the workers are labour-hire employees, who is legally responsible?
For workers who are labour-hire employees, their host (the distribution centre) has legal responsibilities for worker health and safety. The host shares joint (and several) responsibilities with the labour-hire employer to:
Maintain a safe workplace
Follow public health directions
Avoid foreseeable risks to health and safety
Identify and manage OH&S risks
Ensure the worker has sufficient training, knowledge, strength and resources to do their job safely.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 8691 3128.
Warm regards, Caroline Mense
Principal Lawyer at Legal Enablers Pty Ltd