Early Childhood OHS and COVID-19 in early childhood settings

The AEU recently held two OHS webinars for early childhood members, providing information about the challenges of working safely in COVID-19. The focus was on OHS hazards in EC, OHS consultation, hierarchy of controls and the role of health and safety reps (HSRs).

The pandemic has highlighted the need for the AEU to identify, train and promote HSRs in EC centres, as these roles – and the structures that support them – currently don’t exist.

We will be holding a five-day, Worksafe-approved HSR training course from 16–20 November, specifically for EC members. The course and replacement funding will be provided for elected HSRs in committee-run centres.

COVID-safe plan

All EC services under Stage 4 restrictions are required to have a COVID-safe plan in place. A guide to enacting a plan can be found at business.vic.gov.au, including your employer’s obligations, along with a useful template.

It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure your COVID-safe plan is in place.

Under current public health advice, all Victorian workplaces are required to establish and maintain a register of every person who attends their workplace. A workplace register template can also be found at the link above.

Where it is not reasonably practicable to have casuals or staff only working at one site, there are strict requirements in place to document their movement across EC services. Providers are required to minimise movement.

For additional support, you can call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

New WorkSafe advice

Employers must notify WorkSafe immediately when they become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 by using the online form or by calling 13 23 60.

WorkSafe will make inquiries about your safety systems, including your infection control measures. Please note that it is your employer’s responsibility to have these systems in place.

Along with Worksafe, a confirmed case must be reported to DHHS and DET.

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