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Transporting staff while remaining compliant with level 4 requirements, is challenging. The following guidelines cover a range of scenarios that are common in horticulture.
There are two types of worksites:
- Production Sites - Harvest crews and other essential staff working on production sites. Typically harvest crews work in teams. These teams move from site to site, sometimes part way through a day. Production Sites can be remote, a considerable distance from where people live and well away from any public transport options.
- Post-harvest staff working at post-harvest sites (packhouse and/or cool stores). These can range from small businesses with a few staff up to very large complexes with multiple grading machines, with several hundred staff on site at any one time and working multiple shifts. Many staff travel some distance to work and may rely on carpooling as not all have transport options.
NZAPI - COVID19 - Social distancing and transport options
General precautions that apply in all transport situations:
- Workers MUST NOT travel if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with anyone with COVID-19.
- Employers should provide a letter stating that the group has been designated as a “transport” bubble. The letter should name the people who may travel together, the vehicle they are travelling in, where people are travelling from and to. The letter should be provided to the accommodation provider (where applicable).
- Always share the vehicle with the same group of people.
- All workers should wash or sanitise their hands immediately before entering the vehicle and on leaving the vehicle.
- Workers should always sit in the same seat.
- Driver to sanitise or clean vehicle handles and steering wheel after each trip, and wash hands.
- Employers should ensure workers that travel together work closely to the people they travel with (.ie. establish a work bubble).
All employers should:
- implement an approval process for all staff wishing to share transport.
- maintain a register of all approvals.
- provide the driver with a letter of approval.
- provide a copy of the letter of approval to the accommodation provider (where applicable).
Transport of staff within an accommodation bubble
No separation requirements exist when all of the people in the vehicle are from the same accommodation bubble, but general precautions listed above apply. Consider displaying a sign on the vehicle that you are within an “Isolation bubble” NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Signage for Vehicle Passenger Numbers
Transport of staff from different accommodation bubbles
It is understood that many people do not have access to individual transportation and therefore shared transportation is necessary. When this is necessary, the following precautions apply:
- Do not use the vehicle for any other purpose - e.g. transporting your family when you are not at work.
- Physical distancing between the driver and passengers is important, even in smaller vehicles.
- Sit as far as possible from the driver. If you are the sole passenger, sit in the rear left-hand side passenger seat, diagonally opposite the driver.
- The maximum number of passengers in a car is 3.
- Apart from the driver, you must only travel in the same vehicle as people from the same isolation group (household unit or workplace ‘bubble’).
Larger Vehicle e.g. vans, buses.
- The driver must ask each passenger if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 before the entering the vehicle. Passengers with obvious symptoms must not enter the vehicle.
- The driver must obtain and carry a letter from the employer stating the number of passengers that can be carried and in what formation.
- Every passenger must wash or sanitise their hands immediately before entering and immediately after leaving the vehicle.
- Driver to wait outside the vehicle while loading and unloading.
- Passengers to maintain maximum practical distance while loading and unloading.
- Start filling the vehicle from the rear (seats furthest from the door).
- Passengers should always occupy the same seat.
- Maximise spacing between passengers where possible for example:
- only use the window seat in each row
- use alternate rows
- Driver to sanitise or clean all surfaces (seats, window ledges, handles etc) after each trip, and wash hands.
In the event of a person you travel with being diagnosed with COVID-19 (or suspected of having COVID-19)
- All persons who were sharing a vehicle with the person must immediately self-isolate
- None of these people should continue working
- The employer must immediately notify Healthline
- The employer must withdraw the “Approved Transport” letter
In addition, the employer and accommodation provider (where applicable) must implement their own process for managing a positive COVID-19 detection in the workplace and shared accommodation.
All employers should ensure the following records are completed:
- Worker should each have a letter saying that they are an essential worker NZAPI Template - COVID19 - Letter for essential worker.
- Implement an approval process for all staff wishing to share transport.
- Maintain a register of all approvals NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Shared Transport Approval Register.
- Provide the driver with a letter of approval. Stating that the group has been designated as a “transport” bubble. NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Shared Transport Letter of Approval.
- Provide a copy of the letter of approval to the accommodation provider (where applicable).
- The driver must obtain and carry a letter from the employer stating the number of passengers that can be carried and in what formation NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Signage for Vehicle Passenger Numbers
NZAPI Template - COVID19 - Letter for Essential Worker
NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Shared Transport Approval Register
NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Shared Transport Letter of Approval
NZAPI Template - COVID19 – Signage for Vehicle Passenger Numbers