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Every workplace should have a documented plan for how they will manage the risk of COVID-19 that includes each of the areas below.
All non-essential workers and vulnerable workers should be sent home at Alert Level 2 or higher. Where possible provisions should be made for them to work from home. Essential workers that can work from home should do so.
All workers that are vulnerable should be identified. Those at high risk include those with underlying health conditions such as those with compromised immune systems, respiratory conditions, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or diabetes. Workers who are 70 years or older or pregnant are also considered vulnerable.
If a vulnerable worker wishes to remain at work they can, however the employer should maintain a register of vulnerable workers, and assign tasks that allow them to isolate from other workers if possible.
An employee must provide names of those they live and travel with and identify any health concerns NZAPI Template – COVID19 – Employee declaration
Maintain a register of employee health, home, travel declarations
Maintain a register of all staff on site each day, including time, days spent home sick
Maintain a register of all visitors that come on site. NZAPI Template – COVID19 –Visitor Sign In and Health Declaration record
It is important that workers understand and can comply with the requirements for preventing the spread of COVID-19. This can be undertaken by:
- Ensuring every worker reads and understands the COVID-19 Management Plan.
- Instruct workers on correct procedures for social distancing, personal hygiene and cleaning.
- Workers are briefed at the start of each day on the risks and requirements of the plan.
- Verbal reinforcement of social distancing and personal hygiene requirements during the day.
- Personal hygiene signs displayed in break room, handwashing and toilet facilities as reinforcement.
- Signs of COVID-19 symptoms and required actions displayed in common areas as reminders. NZAPI - COVID19 - Symptoms poster
- Handouts of at home expectations for workers to take home. NZAPI Infosheet - COVID19 – At home expectations
Physical distancing is about keeping a safe distance away from others. In accordance with Ministry of Health guidance and MPI advice, every workplace should strive for a minimum physical distancing of 2 metres. MPI have advised that no workers can operate at a distance of less than 1 metre. Workers that must operate between 1 and 2 metres must implement additional risk mitigation measures i.e. PPE (masks and gloves), physical barriers. Physical distancing of 2 metres applies to all employees at all times including:
- While completing work tasks
- During break and lunch times
- Within office facilities
Workers that must operate between 1 and 2 metres must implement additional risk mitigation measures i.e. PPE (masks and gloves), physical barriers.
Work stations spaced less than 1 metre apart are only acceptable if they are critical for business function and no alternatives measures can be implemented, these must be separated by a physical barrier placed in between workers. The screen must be:
- fixed in place or fully-supported
- large enough that the minimum face to face distance between workers above, below or around the screen is 1 metre
- where the facility has circulating air flow or additional fans, the screen should not lead to increased air funnelling between work stations.
Where an alternative mechanism to minimise risk where workstations are spaced less than 1 metre apart, a request can be made to MPI on a case by case basis that the spacing is critical to continuing operations.
For more detail on physical distancing for orchards and packhouses read…
NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 – Workplace distancing in orchards and packhouses
Photos of physical distancing solutions in packhouses
Good personal hygiene is important to prevent the spread of germs and illness. In addition to requirements of GLOBAL GAP and BRC, additional measures must be put in place to manage the spread of COVID-19.
Workplaces should implement a documented hygiene system specific for COVID-19 that includes:
- Instructing workers on correct procedures
- Utilisation of signage as reinforcement
- Verbal reminders
For more information on personal hygiene procedures for orchards and packhouses including hand washing, use of personal items and using shared equipment read
NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 – Personal hygiene
Minimise sharing work equipment
Individual equipment should be allocated to workers i.e. picking bags, ladders and secateurs. If this is not possible, they should be cleaned or sanitised between use and at the end of the day.
Tractors, forklifts and vehicles should be allocated to workers or cleaned or sanitised between use and at the end of the day.
The use of fixed phones, keyboards and mice should be for individual use only. Where this is not possible the items should be cleaned with an alcohol wipe before each use. Used wipes should be immediately disposed of in a rubbish bin. Workers sharing these items may wish to wear gloves.
Workers should be instructed to avoid touching commonly used surfaces with their hands (i.e. light switches, doors, door handles, buttons). The use of elbows, hips and pointers should be encouraged.
Go paperless for handling shared paperwork, take and share photos. Workers handling shared paperwork may wish to wear gloves.
In addition to the requirements of GLOBALGAP, NZGAP and BRC, additional cleaning measures must be put in place to manage the spread of COVID-19.
Workplaces should implement a documented cleaning system specific for COVID-19 that includes:
- Areas to clean
- Frequency of cleaning
- Maintenance of a cleaning log for designated cleaning areas
- Use of correct PPE when cleaning
For more detailed information on cleaning protocols read NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 – Workplace Cleaning
Standard workplace PPE requirements should be followed. Additional PPE should be used where appropriate to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including masks and gloves. For more information on when additional PPE should be used read NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 – PPE in the Workplace
MPI has advised that PPE access will be prioritised for the health sector and first responders. We’re aware that it’s very difficult to access sanitiser at the moment.
- The Ministry of Health has sourced a supply of protective masks. These can be ordered at the following website:
https://www.nxp.nz/personal-protective-equipment/ . While the portal is for masks only at the moment, it will soon be expanded to other PPE.
- The following supplier has hand sanitiser currently available click here.
- Another option is to contact firstname.lastname@example.org at Horticulture NZ for the following supplies (ex Auckland):
1. Sanitiser – 1 x carton = 12 litres @ $219.00 + GST per carton. Courier $17- $30 depending on area.
2. Surgical masks – 50 units per pack, @ $78 + GST per pack. Courier $15-$20. (Carton size = 2,000 units)
Each workplace should manage site access to reduce the risk of an infection being brought into the workplace.
- No visitors should be permitted onsite unless they are providing an essential service (i.e. transport, maintenance).
- Entrance signs should be visible to make visitors aware that the site is not open for general visitors or customers. Site contact details should be provided for essential visitors.
- Essential visitors that visit the site should not be permitted entry if they are showing signs of COVID-19 or have been overseas in the last 14 days.
- A record of all personnel that enter the site (including visitors and employees) should be maintained. Date, time and contact details should be recorded.
- Assign a drop off location and register for deliveries and pick-ups to eliminate contact.
NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 - Managing Site Access and Visitors
NZAPI Template – COVID19 –Visitor Sign In and Health Declaration record
Managing sick workers
Workplaces must manage the risk of COVID-19 entering the workplace from those presenting with symptoms. Managing workers with symptoms should be part of a documented COVID-19 management plan. This should include a process for monitoring worker symptoms and reporting illness.
- Workers should be instructed that if they are feeling unwell they should not come to work or immediately return home if they become unwell in the workplace.
- Workers should immediately notify their manager and COVID-19 manager if they become unwell.
- Workers should be educated on symptoms of COVID-19.
- Use signage in the workplace to educate about symptoms and appropriate action.
For more detailed information on monitoring and caring for sick/isolated workers read NZAPI Infosheet – COVID19 – Caring for sick workers
NZAPI Template – COVID19 – Sick Worker Monitoring Record
NZAPI - COVID-19 - Symptoms Poster
How to respond to a confirmed COVID-19 Case
Assist Ministry of Health (MoH) with contact tracing. MoH have defined two types of contacts:
Close contact: Any person exposed (e.g. direct body fluid, same household, face-to-face within 2m for >15mins) to a suspect, confirmed or probable case during the case’s infectious period, without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Casual contact Someone who has had contact with a case but doesn’t meet the criteria for a close contact. For example, they were only close to the person with COVID-19 for less than 15 minutes or were at the same place but not near them.
- Prepare a list of close and casual contacts
- Close any site or area that might be affected
- Place signage and ensure that no one can enter the area.
- Affected workers or visitors to go home and self-isolate until further notice.
- Provide information on how to self-isolate, signs and symptoms and the Healthline number.
- Clean the site and any areas the infected person has worked, ensure appropriate cleaning products and procedures are followed and cleaning staff have all appropriate PPE.
- Consider closing the area for 72 hours, this is the time required to significantly reduce the risk of the virus surviving on any surfaces.
Changed Staff Working Arrangements
For information on changes to staff working conditions, click on this link for guidance from business.govt.nz