COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

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Work Health and Safety policies procedures and guidelines  related to COVID-19 are available below.

WHS-PRO-GUI-002n JCU Principles for Operating During COVID-19 Pandemic

Intent

JCU recognises the responsibility to manage our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure the safety of our staff, students, public and our contractors.  JCU has prepared this guideline to assist the University community with determining activities that are essential and the associated government requirements that apply at this point in time.

The document will need to be reviewed as government restrictions change over the course of the pandemic.  The WHS unit will monitor the Federal and State Government advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change.  Queensland Public Health may provide overriding directives, to which JCU will be required to abide.

Definitions

Close Contact: As defined by Queensland Health:

  • Greater than 15 minutes (accumulative over the course of a week) face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case; or
  • Sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.

Close contact needs to have occurred within the period extending 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the case until the case is classified as no longer infectious by the treating team (usually 48 hours after the resolution of symptoms).

Self-Quarantine: As defined by Queensland Health:

Self-quarantine means staying in your home, hotel room or provided accommodation, and not leaving for the period you are required to quarantine. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home.

Casual Contact: As defined by Healthdirect:

A casual contact is someone who has been in the same general area as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 while infectious:

  • You have had less than 15 minutes face-to-face contact (in any setting) with a confirmed case (including in the 48 hours before their symptoms appeared);
  • You have shared a closed space with a confirmed case for less than 2 hours (including in the 48 hours before their symptoms appeared).

Social Distancing:

Social distancing includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons, regular washing of hands and avoiding handshaking.

Procedure

1 Current Legislative Framework

The Chief Health Officer in Queensland issues public health directions that apply to workplaces.  These directions form the bulk of the legal requirements that JCU and members of the public must comply with.

Summarised in Table 1 below are the primary requirements for JCU the Entity, Staff and Students to comply with as of the 19th October 2020.

Please note that the requirements are changing frequently.  As such constant review will need to occur.

Table 1: Public Health Direction Summaries

Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 5) (16/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B

Highlighted SectionJCU Current Interpretation

Physical Distancing

Section 6:

An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage visitors to the premises to practise physical distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Section 7:

A person who is leaving their principal place of residence must practice physical distancing while outside their principal place of residence, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Activities at the University are to practice physical distancing at all times, to the extent reasonably practicable

Where it is essential, physical distancing may be reduced.  Examples of essential activities that would require people to be within 1.5m of each other include activities that involve a two person lift, activities such as physiotherapy on a client where the distance cannot be maintained.

Definition of Physical Distancing:

Section 30. Definition of physical distancing: includes remaining at least 1.5metres away from other persons where possible.

Anyone who leaves their home must practice physical distancing. This is to stay at least 1.5m from others when reasonably practicable.

Where it is essential, this distance may be reduced.  This could apply such as a two person lift, activities such as physiotherapy where the distance cannot be maintained.

Gatherings:

Section 26. Gathering does not include a gathering: (n) at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility

Section 37. Restricted area means a particular area of Queensland decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Government website.

Section 25.  Gathering, subject to section 26, means:

  • Non-restricted area: under section 12 means a   gathering of more than 40 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or   single undivided indoor space at the same time; or
  • Restricted area: under section 19 means a   gathering of more than 10 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or   single undivided indoor space at the same time.

Restricted area:

Section 19. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 10 people to occur on the premises.

Non-restricted area:

Section 12. A person who is an owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a residence in a non-restricted area may allow up to 40 people to gather at a residence, including the members of the person’s household.

Section 26, (n) excludes the University from the gathering rules. This allows work or study groups of people to be at the University with no restrictions to the number of people.

If the gathering is for social / recreational reasons, the gathering must not be larger than 40 in a non-restricted area or 10 in a restricted area.

A list of restricted areas can be found at: the Queensland Government website.

JCU has a legal obligation to prohibit social / recreational gatherings greater than 40 (non-restricted areas or greater than 10 (restricted areas) to occur on the campus

Other  

Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 8) (16/10/2020)

Section 6. A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business, activity or undertaking in the State of Queensland, may operate the business, activity or undertaking:

  1. in accordance with any restrictions listed in section 18 (see below for university restrictions); and
  2. on the basis that occupant density is:

Indoors:

  1. no more than one person per 2 square metres (up to a total of 50 people) for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or less; or
  2. no more than one person per 4 square metres for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or more; or

Outdoors:

iii.             No more than one person per 2 square metres for outdoor venues or spaces; and

  1. in accordance with the COVID safe framework; and
  2. public health controls.

Note – people should observe physical distancing to the extent possible.

Section 7. If a business, activity or undertaking is required to maintain a 2 or 4 square metre requirement, this applies to areas of the business that are open to or used by the public (for example, for a cafe or restaurant, the dining area, but not the kitchen).

Section 18:  Universities and other higher educational institutions such as TAFEs and RTOs must ensure there is no more than one person per 4 square metres in large lecture settings. The additional conditions under section 9 do not apply.

Note – smaller education and teaching sessions, such as group seminars, tutorials, practicals and laboratory-based learnings, and vocational training sessions are not subject to the one person per 4 square metres rule. Physical distancing should be observed to the extent possible.

Businesses, activities and undertakings such as cafes or sporting-based activities conducted at universities or other educational institutions must comply with the applicable requirements under this Direction.

Section 9. (Note – University is exempt from this requirement for large lecture settings)

A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business, activity or undertaking must keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days, unless otherwise specified. This information must include: name, phone number, email address, and the date and time period of patronage. If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose and deleted after 56 days.

Section 28. Public health controls are measures to reduce public health risks. These measures may including environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

Universities are now classed as a ‘restricted business’.

The University is required to adhere to the 4 square metre rule for large lecture settings and any other setting that is open to or used by the public.

The University is not required to adhere to the 4 square metre rule for staff areas (e.g. offices and staff kitchens) or smaller education and teaching sessions (e.g. group seminars, tutorials, practicals and laboratory based learnings).  The 1.5metre distancing rule should be observed to the extent possible in these areas.

The University is not required to keep contact information for members of the public attending campus.  Staff and student learning attendance records are generally available through already established systems.  Where practical, contact information for activities should be kept.

This health direction provides additional information not captured here for food and accommodation services.

The current understanding is that locations used for business activities by employees must obey physical distancing when practical.  This would include:

  • 1.5m between office desks
  • A kitchen would not meet this requirement at all times

Areas open to the public require:

  • Physical distancing to the extent possible and no more than 1 person per 4 m2 for indoor spaces and 2m2 for outdoor spaces.

2 JCU Principles for Operating During COVID-19 Pandemic

The attached document provides guidance for categories of business and activities that are conducted by the University including:

  • General Guidance Regarding COVID-19 including physical distancing that needs to be applied to all business activities;
  • The movement and gathering direction and the restrictions on business, activities and undertaking direction from Queensland legislation for COVID-19 which are the current laws as of the date listed in the documents;
  • Categories of activity conducted by the University are listed such as practicals, accommodation, offices and so on;
  • Current guidelines that have been developed by JCU and summary of inclusion in the document for the types of activities where in existence;
  • Control summary which lists the principles to apply if conducting the activity.  The most important aspect being Physical distancing and public health controls to be applied, except where this is essential and cannot be achieved.

3 Forecast (Recovery)

Currently operations are restricted due to particular requirements below:

  • Physical distancing required when conducting  work or study;
  • Limitations on travel; and
  • Limitations on public gatherings (i.e. events).

Travel bans and restrictions, local designated areas, interstate and overseas, impact on students’ ability to engage with on-campus activities in particular. These travel restrictions also have associated quarantine periods that preclude staff or students to attend on campus activities.

To make any changes to the current model of operation the University sector would need the government to make changes to the above requirements.  This may occur in two approaches:

  • Changes to physical distancing that make it feasible to run large scale lectures;
  • Changes to travel restrictions and border controls, state and international, that allow researchers to cross borders and students to return to campus.

The guidance around conducting University activities in Appendix 1 will most likely apply into the future.  As more activities are allowed the principles will be updated.

Schedules/Appendices

Appendix 1 JCU Principles for Operating during Covid-19 Pandemic

Document Control

VersionApproval/Implementation DateAuthorDetails
7.028/05/2020 JCU WHS Unit Updated due to release of Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction (no.6) 19/05/2020 Addition of Gathering Definition (section 23) to clarify social gathering requirements. Update to ka. Document Control table added to guideline
8.002/06/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updated due to the release of the Movement and Gathering Direction (no.1) 01/06/2020 and Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (01/06/2020).

9.016/07/2020JCU WHS Unit Updated due to the release of Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 2) (03/07/2020) and Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 4) (10/07/2020).
10.017/09/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 5) (24 July 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 4)  (2 September 2020).

Updates due to release of Approved COVID Industry Safe Plans, Qld Government.

11.019/10/2020JCU WHS UnitUpdates due to the release of Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5) (16/10/2020) and Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 8) (16/10/2020).

WHS-PRO-GUI- 002r COVID-19 Guideline for Managing JCU Controlled Events

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES GUIDANCE ON COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS ONLY.

EXISTING JCU EVENT PROCESSES MUST STILL BE FOLLOWED (refer to JCU Policy & Procedure Library).

Introduction

Queensland Work Health and Safety legislation requires the University (an Employer) to take care of the health, safety and welfare of workers at the workplace (including to and from the workplace).  Events are now permitted in Queensland and it is essential that events are managed in accordance with Queensland Health directions and accepted processes in the context of COVID-19.  This guideline provides JCU Event Organisers with a guide to the safe management of events.

By their nature events often involve the gathering of people in significant numbers and at high densities. Therefore, events present risk in terms of the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, and these risks must be managed effectively by Event Organisers to ensure the health and safety of those present.

JCU will monitor relevant Health Authority advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change. This guideline does not apply to online events.

1 What is an Event

The Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events in Queensland (July 2020) describes events as:

There is no precise definition for an ‘event’, beyond saying that events are generally ‘planned public or social occasions’. Events come in an enormous range of types and sizes. They take place across a large variety of venues, have a range of characteristics, and involve a diverse range of operational spaces. Events often incorporate a broad range of activities, such as service of food and beverages, gatherings for entertainment, and the movement of large crowds.

For the purpose of this guideline, an Event at JCU can be classified as any advertised public or social activity or any gathering hosted on University land or facilities or an external venue in the name of the University. For example:

  • Public events including but not limited to: career days, open days, cultural festivals, TED talks, seminars, conferences, graduation ceremonies; or
  • An internally publicized social activity that is open to students or staff (e.g. breakfasts, sport days, etc.).

It does not include teaching, learning or research events in the context of curricular or co-curricular activity. Events have been categorised in accordance with participant numbers:

  • Category 1: over 10,000 attendees
  • Category 2: between 500-10,000
  • Category 3: less than 500 attendees

JCU will only be approving category 3 events on campus at this time.

2 Health Direction Qld Government

The Chief Health Officer in Queensland issues public health directions that apply to workplaces. These directions form the bulk of the legal requirements that JCU and members of the public must comply with. As such, there are sections of the Directions that allow the University to operate for instruction and business.

Summarised in Table 1 below are the primary requirements for the University, Staff and Students to comply with as of the 29th of July 2020.

Please note that the requirements are changing frequently.  As such constant review will need to occur.

Table 1: Relevant Public Health Direction Summaries

Physical Distancing & Gatherings

Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 5) (16/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B

Highlighted Section:

JCU Current Interpretation:

Physical Distancing:

Section 6:

An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage visitors to the premises to practise physical distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Section 7:

A person who is leaving their principal place of residence must practice physical distancing while outside their principal place of residence, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Definition of Physical Distancing:  

Section 30.  Definition of physical distancing - includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons where possible

Events at the University are to practice physical distancing at all times reasonably practicable (1.5m away from others).

Where public groups are from the same household, physical distancing is not required within the household group, however physical distancing is required between different household groups.

Gatherings:

Section 26. Gathering does not include a gathering:

(n) at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility

(l) at a business, facility or service operating in accordance with, or not restricted under, the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities or Undertakings Direction (No. 8), or its successor, or another Public Health Direction;

Example – wedding, funeral, accommodation facilities, retail store, shopping centre

Section 37. Restricted area means a particular area of Queensland decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Government website.

Section 25.  Gathering, subject to section 26, means:

  • Non-restricted area: under part 2 means a gathering of more than 40 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time; or
  • Restricted area: under part 3 means a gathering of more than 10 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time.

Restricted area:

Section 19. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 10 people to occur on the premises.

Non-restricted area:

Section 12. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a non-restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 40 people to occur on the premises.

Section 26.l. allows the University as a ‘restricted business’ to hold events with gatherings greater than 40 (non-restricted) / 10 (restricted) people in accordance with the COVID Safe Framework.

JCU has a legal obligation to prohibit social / recreational gatherings greater than 10/40 (as detailed in part 2&3) to occur on the campus unless they are managed in accordance with the COVID Safe Framework.

Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 8) (16/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B

Highlighted Section:

JCU Current Interpretation:

Section 6.  A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business in the State of Queensland, may operate the business:

  1. in accordance with any restrictions listed in column   2 of paragraph 18; and
  2. one the basis that occupant density is:

Indoors:

  1. no more than one person per 2 square metres (up to a   total of 50 people) for indoor venues or spaces of 200 square metres of less;   or
  2. no more than one person per 4 square metres for indoor   venues or spaces of 200 square metres of more; and

Outdoors:

  1. no more than one person per 2 square metres for   outdoor venues or spaces; and
  2. in accordance with the COVID Safe Framework; and
  3. public health controls.

Note – people should observe physical distancing to the extent possible.

JCU must meet the following requirements for all events:

  • Managed in accordance with the COVID Safe Event Checklist (fewer than 500 people) or COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the local public health unit (between 500 and 10,000 people);
  • ensuring public health controls, including:
    • Environmental cleaning,
    • Hygiene measures,
    • Regular washing of hands,
    • Availability of hand sanitiser and
    • Avoiding handshaking.
  • Observe physical distancing to the extent possible
  • Maintain contact information (as detailed in section 9)

Section 8. COVID safe framework

The COVID Safe Framework is:

  1. Where there is no Approved Plan for the business, activity or undertaking - a COVID Safe Checklist (if applicable) or a COVID Safe Event Checklist
  2. Where the business elects not to operate under an Approved Plan – an applicable COVID Safe Checklist, for a maximum of 50 people.

Section 9.  Contact information

A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business, activity or undertaking must keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days, unless otherwise specified. This information must include: name, phone number, email address, and the date and time period of patronage. If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose and deleted after 56 days.

Section 18.

Indoor and outdoor events

May operate in compliance with an Approved Plan (if applicable), other than a COVID Safe Event Plan. If more than 500 people (indoor events) or more than 1,000 people (outdoor events) will be in attendance, the event organiser must notify the local public health unit a minimum of 10 business days prior to the event taking place.

Otherwise, must operate in accordance with the following conditions, depending on the number of people per event (or number of people per day for multi-day events) and whether the event is held indoors or outdoors:

  • Indoor events
    • Fewer than 500 people – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Checklist, no further approval needed;
    • Between 500 and 10,000 people - must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by local public health units;
    • Over 10,000 people - must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer.
  • Outdoor events
    • Fewer than 1,000 people – must comply with a COVID Safe Event Checklist, no further approval needed;
    • Between 1,000 and 10,000 people - must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by local public health units;
    • Over 10,000 people - must comply with a COVID Safe Event Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer.

Note – Multi-day events may operate in accordance with the above conditions, depending on the number of people in attendance per day. For example, a 3-day outdoor event with 1,000 attendees per day may comply with a COVID Safe Event Checklist.

Section 28. Public health controls

Public health controls are measures to reduce public health risks. These measures may include environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

Section 27. Physical distancing

Physical distancing includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons where possible.

3 Requirements for Events

3.1 Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events

The Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events is applicable to all events. It sets out key principles and provides strategies to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

Event Organisers seeking to hold an event must adhere to the requirements set out in the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events.

3.2 What if the Event is also covered by an Approved COVID Safe Industry Plan

The Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events is required for any type of event and must be used in conjunction with the relevant approved COVID Safe Industry Plan/s.  The Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events provides key principles and strategies specific to events but only provides limited guidance for activities carried out during the event e.g. sports, food and beverage, amusement activities etc.

The COVID Safe Industry Plans provide detailed requirements and strategies for specific activities.  Event Organisers must identify whether the event (or specific parts of the event) is covered by one or more specific COVID Safe Industry Plans and also follow the guidance of these plans.

Further information on Approved COVID Safe Industry Plans can be found here.

3.3 Events with less than 500 people (indoor)/1000peopeple (outdoor) - Category Three Event

Category Three events are currently deemed to have a low level of risk.  Events with less than 500 people indoors OR 1000 people outdoors on campus at any given time can proceed without approval from Queensland Health whilst following the COVID Safe Event Checklist. To assist staff to document the controls for an event at the University, ‘JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist’ has been created.

3.3.1 JCU staff or student only events up to 100 attendees

Internal (ie JCU staff or student only events up to 100 attendees) require the Event Checklist and JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist to be completed and submitted to the relevant Dean/Director for approval.  Complete JCU document ‘JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist’.  Contact the Estate Directorate at this stage to discuss additional cleaning, sanitisers, furniture, security, etc. requirements for the event as per existing processes.

3.1.2 JCU staff or student only events over 100 attendees OR any event involving external (i.e. Non JCU) attendees, regardless of the numbers

Any internal event over 100 attendees, or any event involving external (ie non JCU) guests, regardless of numbers, must adhere to the following:

Step 1.  WHS risk assessments for events should be completed for activities (where required) to cover non-COVID risks.  All COVID related risks will be captured in the following documents.

Step 2.   Complete JCU document ‘JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist’. Contact the Estate Directorate at this stage to discuss additional cleaning, sanitisers, furniture, security, etc. requirements for the event as per existing processes.

Step 3.  Complete the Queensland Government COVID Safe Event Checklist

Step 4.  Complete the Queensland Government Statement of Compliance – COVID Safe Event Checklist. This document needs to be displayed on site throughout the event.

Step 5.  Submit the three documents above to the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) for approval through the Chief of Staff for approval.  Approval will be recorded on ‘JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist’.

3.4 Between 500 (indoors)/1000 (outdoors) and 10,000 people – Category Two Event

Category Two events are currently deemed to have a medium level of risk of the potential transmission of COVID-19 based on their characteristics. Therefore approval of the event organiser’s COVID Safe Event Plan by the Queensland Public Health Unit is required in order to proceed under Stage 3 of the Roadmap.  Notification to the local public health unit must be conducted a minimum of 10 business days prior to the event taking place.

At this stage, it is unlikely that JCU will be hosting Category Two events for the remainder of 2020.

3.5 Over 10,000 people – Category One Event

Category One events are currently deemed to have a high level of risk of the potential transmission of COVID-19 based on their characteristics.  Therefore approval of the event organiser’s COVID Safe Event Plan by the Queensland Chief Health Officer is required in order to proceed under Stage 3 of the Roadmap.

It is unlikely that JCU will be hosting Category Two events for the remainder of 2020.

4 Key Principles and Event Specific Public Health Strategies

  • Governance:
    • Clear responsibilities of key personnel;
    • Completion of Industry Framework Plans / Checklists;
    • Approval from public health or the Chief Health Officer for larger events;
  • Communication of COVID rules to all people – prior and during events;
  • Maintain physical distancing (1.5m between people);
  • 1 person per 4 square metres per person for indoor / 1 person per 2 square metres per person for outdoor – density reduction;
  • Health screening of staff and attendees;
  • Facilitate contact tracing;
  • Regular and thorough cleaning;
  • Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities;
  • First aid / in-event health service plans.

5 Responsibilities

5.1 Event Organiser

The Event Organiser is responsible for:

  • Developing / completing an event specific COVID Safe Event Plan or COVID Safe Event Checklist (depending on the size of the event);
  • Seeking the advice of the WHS Unit in developing the plans where required;
  • Submitting their COVID Safe Event Plans/documentation (reflecting the public health measures that will be implemented) to the Dean/Director prior to submission to CIMT;
  • Obtaining JCU approval prior to conducting the event;
  • Ensuring that the public health key principles and event specific public health strategies identified in the Industry Framework for Events are implemented and monitored;
  • Ensuring all staff and volunteers are aware of the COVID Safe Event Plan / COVID Safe Event Checklist;
  • Ensuring sub-contractors and suppliers adopt and implement appropriate public health strategies relevant to their specific industry and activities.

5.2 Event staff (including volunteers)

Event staff are responsible for:

  • Understanding their role in providing a COVID-safe event. This includes safeguarding the welfare of their colleagues and attendees of the event at which they are working.
  • Implementing and monitoring the COVID Safe Event Plan / Checklist controls under the direction of the Event Organiser.

5.3 Attendees

Event Attendees are responsible for:

  • Their own welfare, as well as that of others around them.  This includes following the COVID safe event rules (e.g. not attending if unwell, maintaining physical distancing and good hygiene practices).

6 Who is responsible if people attending a JCU event fail to comply with physical distancing requirements?

Event Organisers are responsible for ensuring that staff and patrons are not denied the ability to remain 1.5m from other people at all times. Event Organisers should undertake best endeavours to ensure physical distancing of 1.5m between individuals is maintained across their event site. Individuals have a level of personal responsibility in terms of limiting the transmission of COVID-19 by ensuring they comply with the public health strategies in place, particularly around physical distancing and not attending if they are unwell.

Whilst JCU recognises that Event Organisers are not personally responsible for ensuring individuals maintain this distance, if they are concerned about the lack of compliance then JCU Security should be called (as Authorised Persons appointed by the Vice Chancellor under the James Cook University Act 1997 for control of conduct purposes) to ensure compliance or remove people from the campus.

If continued non-compliance occurs, the Event Organiser should close or cancel the event.

7 External Hire of JCU Facilities for Events

Some JCU facilities are available to external organisations for hire.  If an external organisation is hiring a facility to host an event, the external organisation is responsible for the management of the Event.  JCU, the facility owner, is responsible for providing a safe facility as part of the hire agreement.

JCU External Hirers are required to be managed in accordance with the existing JCU processes for hiring a JCU facility.  In addition to the existing JCU processes, the External Hirers must meet the COVID specific requirements listed below.  

Additional COVID-19 requirements:

  • Event conducted on JCU premises must not exceed 500 people (including attendees, staff, volunteers, contractors, etc. ALL PEOPLE).
  • JCU will advise the External Hirer of any additional COVID-19 controls in the facility as part of the hire agreement (e.g. increase in cleaning, restriction on capacity of rooms, other area specific COVID-19 controls).
  • The External Hirer is required to provide a copy of their COVID-19 safe plans / checklists and statement of compliances relevant to their event and associated activities (e.g. Covid safe event checklist, Statement of compliance for food services, etc.) to the University.
  • The External Hirer is to confirm insurance coverage includes COVID-19 related risks.
  • The External Hirer’s event information is required to be submitted to the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) via the JCU representative for approval.
  • The External Hirer is responsible for the management of the conduct of the attendees.

Schedule / Appendices

JCU COVID Safe Event Checklist

References

Chief Health Officer Public Health Directions

Queensland Government COVID Safe Businesses

Approved COVID Industry Safe Plans

James Cook University Act, 1997

Document Control

Version

Date Approved/Implemented

Author

Details

20-1

29/07/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Guideline established.

20-2

11/08/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Added: statement explaining the document intent, section 7, minor changes to section 3.3

20-3

17/09/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 5) (24 July 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 4)  (2 September 2020).

20-4

19/10/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to the release of Restriction on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no. 8) (16/10/2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5) (16/10/2020).

Major change: Category three events increase maximum number of people from 500 to 1000 for outdoor events.  Category three events remain at a maximum of 500 people for indoor events.

WHS-PRO-GUI-006h COVID-19 Guideline for Managing Vulnerable Staff Member

Introduction

Queensland Work Health and Safety legislation requires the University (an Employer) to take care of the health, safety and welfare of workers at the workplace (including to and from the workplace). Some people are at greater risk of more serious illness with COVID-19.  The University acknowledges there will be Staff Members who may be classified as a ‘vulnerable person’, and, as such will be following the Australian Government’s advice for managing the risk for staff members who are classified as vulnerable to COVID-19.  The University is also committed to managing the risk for staff members, where possible, who are involved in the care of a person who is classified as vulnerable to COVID-19.

JCU will monitor relevant Health Authority advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change. Currently, the Australian Government advises that Employers should follow the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee for vulnerable staff members in the workplace.

1 Who is a Vulnerable Staff Member

9th October  2020

https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-statement-on-recommendations-for-managing-of-health-risk-as-covid-19-measures-lift

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19#advice-for-specific-communities-and-groups

For the purpose of this guideline, a vulnerable person includes any Staff Member who fits into one or more of the categories identified by the Department of Health.  These categories may increase or vary depending on the latest evidence.  Currently, vulnerable people include the following:

Age is by far the strongest risk factor associated with disease and death. Risk increases as people age. There is a very substantial increase in risk of severe COVID-19 illness in people over 70.

A person is at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 if he/she:

  • is 70 years of age or over
  • is aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • has had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • has had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • is on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • has blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • is having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

A person at moderate risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 if he/she has:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk –speak to your doctor)

According to the AHPPC, evidence suggests having two or more conditions may increase risk, regardless of age. More severe disease and/or poor control of the condition may also increase the risk of severe disease. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice is that there is limited evidence at this time regarding the risk in pregnant women.

Where a Staff Member has self-identified as a vulnerable person due to another medical condition in writing, from their Treating Medical Practitioner (TMP), the University will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, based on the specific risk in the scenario.

2 Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)

AHPPC’s latest advice 6 July 2020 is:

As the current level of COVID-19 cases is low, people, even those at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, can return to work and other settings with appropriate precautions in place.

Australians should monitor current public health advice and continue physical distancing, using hand and respiratory hygiene, and stay home if acutely unwell.

The risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) depends on the chance of being close to someone with COVID-19 or coming into contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus.

Because of this, the local pattern of disease is the most important determinant of risk of contracting COVID-19 illness in any community. If there are no cases or a low number of cases and no evidence of community transmission, then the risk of exposure is low regardless of age or health conditions.

https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-statement-on-recommendations-for-managing-of-health-risk-as-covid-19-measures-lift

3 Risk Assessment

3.1 Consequence

The University does not have control over the potential consequence of the virus.  The consequences of COVID-19 varies depending on individual factors. The Guideline is has been developed to manage individuals who are expected to have a more severe consequence if they contract the virus, ‘vulnerable’ people. Therefore the focus of this guideline is related to reducing the likelihood of exposure.

3.2 Likelihood

According to the AHPPC 6 July 2020 ‘A statement from the AHPPC about how to manage health risks as COVID-19 measures lift’:

The risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) depends on the chance of being close to someone with COVID-19 or coming into contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus.

Because of this the local pattern of disease is the most important determinant of risk of contracting COVID-19 illness in any community. If there are no cases or a low number of cases and no evidence of community transmission, then the risk of exposure is low regardless of age or health conditions.

Currently, in Australia there are low numbers of cases. This means the risk of being exposed to someone with COVID-19 is currently low in most communities.

The Australian Government Department of Health have developed an action plan that is based on the COVID-19 case numbers in the local community.

The action plan breaks down the exposure risk into three categories:

  • no COVID-19 cases in your community
  • low numbers of COVID-19 cases in your community
  • increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in your community

No COVID-19 cases in your community

Things to do at all stages                                                                                                                                                      

1. Maintain physical distancing and hand and respiratory   hygiene

2. Download the COVIDSAFE app

3. Talk to your Supervisor and develop a COVIDsafe work   plan

4. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns

5. Keep fit and stay on top of your health condition

6. Keep your vaccinations up to date, especially for   influenza

7. If you become unwell with possible symptoms, stay   home and get a test

8. Stay up to date with local cases

Low numbers of COVID-19 cases in your community

Things to think about adding to your plan

1. All above plus the next steps in your plan

2. Develop a social bubble and limit interactions   outside your bubble.

3. Change or avoid non-essential activities where you   are exposed to people outside your bubble.

4. Change or avoid activities shown to have increased risk (e.g. indoor   activities with large numbers of people, travel).

5. Change some of your activities to reduce your interactions (such as   zoom meetings).

6. Discuss your workplace plan with your Supervisor and review any   controls in place to reduce your risk of exposure.

7. Review your health with your doctor.

8. Prepare yourself for a possible increase in cases in   your community.

Increasing COVID-19 cases in your community

Things to think about adding to your plan

1. All above plus   the next steps in your plan

2. Activate your   workplace plan

3. Work from home   if there is ongoing exposure at work

4. Stay healthy and stay in touch with friends  and family

AHPPC has identified that some types of activities, events and settings may increase risk of contracting COVID-19.  These include activities that:

  • Are in closed or indoor environments;
  • Have large numbers of people in close contact over an extended period) e.g. public transport at peak hour, sporting events, protests or other large gatherings);
  • Require physical activity and close contact (e.g. dancing or contact sport);
  • Require vocalising in an indoor environment (e.g. choirs, singing, close communication such as shouting in a noisy environment);
  • Require sharing objects with others (e.g. utensils in a tea room);
  • Require sharing accommodation or amenities with others ( e.g. on a field trip, research stations and student accommodation); or
  • Are longer (the risk for exposure and transmission increases with time).

3.3 Risk Assessment Process

A risk assessment is required to identify suitable controls for a Vulnerable Staff Member’s individual work area and work tasks.  A risk assessment is only required for Vulnerable Staff Member’s who are attending a JCU owned/managed worksite, i.e. if a Vulnerable Staff Member works from a home environment, a COVID-19 risk exposure risk assessment is not required. To conduct a risk assessment the Supervisor, in consultation with the Vulnerable Staff Member, should:

Step 1: Identify the work areas the Staff Member will attend and which tasks the Staff Member is required to complete within each work area;

Step 2: Identify COVID-19 exposure points with each task;

Step 3: Identify control measures (current and additional); and

Step 4: Assess the risk with control measures in place.

A template for conducting this risk assessment can be found in WHS-PRO-TEM-006i COVID-19 Vulnerable Staff Member Risk Assessment Template.  WHS Unit can be provide assistance on request.

4 How can we reduce exposure to COIVD-19 within the workplace?

The virus can spread from person to person through:

  • Close contact with an infectious person (including in the 48 hours before they had symptoms);
  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze; and
  • Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

If the vulnerable Staff Member is  attending the workplace, the following controls should be considered.  

a.    1.5 metres (physical distancing)

  • Maintain 1.5m between people at all time is essential for preventing exposure.  If a vulnerable staff member is required to conduct essential work within 1.5m (e.g. patient treatment), PPE should be consider in consultation with the vulnerable staff members doctor.  Note: ensure that the vulnerable staff member understands that this is not intended to discriminate, but is a measure of protection;
  • Reduce working within an enclosed space with other people as much as is reasonably practicable:
  • If work is required within an enclosed space, reduce the time spent in the space as much as is reasonably practicable.
  • If work is required within an enclosed space, increase the distance between people as much as is reasonably practicable.  Acceptable parameters include 4 meters squared per person and 1.5m between people at all times.

b.     Shared equipment

  • Eliminate or reduce as much as possible sharing of equipment.  If shared equipment is required,  establish cleaning and disinfecting regime for the item.

c.     Cleaning

  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting regime to meet as a minimum SafeWork Australia guidelines.
  • Provide cleaning and disinfecting equipment to the vulnerable staff member.

d.     Personal hygiene and responsibility

  • Ensure the vulnerable staff member has access to hand washing / hand sanitiser at all times where there is potential exposure;
  • The vulnerable staff member should travel at quiet times and avoid crowds;
  • If the vulnerable staff member sees a crowded space it is their responsibility to not enter.

e.     Training

  • Provide awareness training to the vulnerable staff member on control measures;
  • Provide awareness training to the vulnerable staff member if they are required to wear PPE as part of the identified control measures.

f.     PPE

  • Review guidelines for safe and appropriate use of PPE, including how to safety done and doff gloves;
  • Conduct fit checking of PPE where required e.g. P2 masks.

g.   Workers / Students

  • Develop strategies to prevent ill workers / students / member of the public from entering the vulnerable workers physical work area.  This may include signage at the front of the facility, condition added to student inductions / agreements, actively requesting people with cold / flu symptoms to leave the work space.

5 Risk Assessment Considerations

The following questions should be considered during the risk assessment:

  1. Can the task be conducted from home? (to be considered if there are any community transmission cases in the local area)
  2. Can the task be modified to lower the risk of exposure?
  3. Can the task be swapped for a lower exposure task with another staff member?
  4. Does the staff member need to share any equipment to complete their tasks?
  5. Can shared equipment be cleaned and disinfected prior to use?
  6. Can paper forms be replaced with electronic processes (i.e. no contact processes)?
  7. Are staff in the area advised not to attend work if displaying symptoms of cold / flu?
  8. Are the workstations at least 1.5m apart and each person has 4 square metres within the shared office?
  9. Can the face to face or on campus component of the task be conducted over a shorter duration of time?
  10. Can the face to face contact be conducted outdoors?
  11. Is the staff member required to travel to and from work on public transport or car pool with a non-household person?
  12. Does the staff member have access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizer at all times?
  13. Are other people accessing the shared spaces using hand sanitizer on entry?
  14. Have staff in the area been provided with awareness training on Covid-19 controls in the area?
  15. Has the vulnerable staff member been provided with awareness training on the Covid-19 controls including (if required) the types of PPE to use and how to safely don and doff PPE?
  16. Do the cleaning protocols meet Safework Australia standards?
  17. Does the vulnerable staff member have access to cleaning products to allow additional cleaning of work area?

6 Mental Health Considerations

Vulnerable staff members are expected to have an increased level of stress and anxiety regarding their safe return to the workplace and the risk of contracting COVID-19. Vulnerable staff members must be included in the planning and risk assessment process, and should raise any concerns about returning to the workplace with their supervisor.

Supervisors need to acknowledge and understand the potential magnitude of fear and caution experienced by vulnerable staff members in relation to the virus, and understand that whilst transmission rates are low and risks are being managed in accordance with the government advice, the consequences of contracting the virus for a vulnerable staff member may be catastrophic.

Supervisors are to ensure that the vulnerable staff member, themselves, and any other relevant person has a good understanding of the risk mitigation measures in place to help alleviate anxiety.

The mental health impact of the pandemic is predicted to be widespread, causing increased stress and anxiety in many people for a wide range of reasons. However, mental health conditions or mental health impacts caused by COVID-19 do not fall under the classification of “vulnerable” for the purposes of this guideline.  Therefore, those with mental health conditions who are require a supported return to work should be managed independently by the Supervisor, or, if assistance is required under the WHS PRO 006 Health Management Procedure.

Further advice regarding management of the mental health impacts of COVID-19 for your staff can be found in the JCU Principles for Operating During COVID-19 Pandemic.

7 Responsibility of Vulnerable Staff Members

As a worker, vulnerable staff members must take responsible care of themselves. It is the responsibility of the Vulnerable Staff Member to advise his / her supervisor that he/she is classified as vulnerable and to be actively involved in the risk assessment process.  The Vulnerable Staff Member is also responsible for following any reasonable health and safety instruction from the employer (e.g. risk assessment control measures including hand hygiene, physical distancing etc).

8 Supporting Medical Documentation

If required, JCU may request supporting medical documentation. WHS-PRO-FORM-006k Medical Confirmation of COVID-19 Definition for Vulnerable Person is available for those requiring confirmation that their staff member meets the criteria of a vulnerable person.

9 What if risk controls are not reasonable (justifiable)

If the risks to vulnerable staff member’s health and safety at the workplace cannot be effectively managed, then alternative arrangements need to be investigated.  This process must be conducted in consultation with Human Resources and the Vulnerable Staff Member.

10 Record keeping

Records are to be managed in a confidential file by the Supervisor.  Records are to be kept for 80 years in accordance with the General Retention and Disposal Schedule (Public Records Act 2002 s26).  Records should be confidentially stored in the University record management system.

Schedule / Appendices

WHS-PRO-TEM-006i COVID-19 Vulnerable Staff Member Risk Assessment Template

WHS-PRO-FORM-006j COVID-19 Vulnerable Staff Member Form

WHS-PRO-FORM-006k Medical Confirmation of COVID-19 Definition for Vulnerable Person

Document Control

VersionDate Approved/ImplementedAuthorDetails
20-106/02/2020JCU WHS UnitGuideline established
20-216/6/2020JCU WHS UnitAddition of WHS-PRO-FORM-006k to Section 9 and Schedule/Appendices
20-316/7/2020JCU WHS Unit

Guideline updated in accordance with AHPPC statement ‘On recommendations for managing of health risk as COVID-19 measures lift’ published 6 July 2020.  WHS-PRO-TEM-006i COVID-19 Vulnerable Staff Member Risk Assessment Template deleted from the guideline.

20-409/10/2020JCU WHS UnitMajor changes to 3.2 Likelihood and 6.0 Controls to reflect the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Action Plan for people with an increased risk of severe illness.

WHS-PRO-GUI-002k COVID-19 Guidelines for Practicals

Introduction

JCU is responsible for managing the safety of our staff, students and the public when conducting University practicals in relation to COVID-19. JCU will monitor federal and state government advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change. The following aspects must be considered in planning practicals. If the conditions below cannot be met then the practical should be postponed.

1 Health Direction Queensland Government

The Chief Health Officer in Queensland issues public health directions that apply to workplaces. These directions form the bulk of the legal requirements that JCU and members of the public must comply with. As such, there are sections of the directions that allow the University to operate for teaching and business.

Summarised in Table 1 below are the primary requirements for JCU the Entity, Staff and Students to comply with as of the 19th October 2020.

Please note that the requirements are changing frequently.  As such, constant review will need to occur.

Table 1: Relevant Public Health Direction Summaries

Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5) (16/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B)

Highlighted Section:

JCU Current Interpretation:

Physical Distancing:

Section 6:

An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage visitors to the premises to practice physical distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Section 7:

A person who is leaving their principal place of residence must practice physical distancing while outside their principal place of residence, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Physical distancing shall be practiced during University activities, where reasonably practicable.

Where it is essential, physical distancing may be reduced.  Examples of essential activities that would require people to be within 1.5m of each other include activities that involve a two person lift, activities such as physiotherapy on a client where the distance cannot be maintained.

Definition of Physical Distancing:

Section 29.  Definition of physical distancing - includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons where possible

Anyone who leaves their home must practice physical distancing. This is to stay at least 1.5m from others where possible.

Where it is essential, this distance may be reduced.  This could apply such as a two-person lift, activities such as physiotherapy where the distance cannot be maintained.

Gatherings:

Section 25. Gathering does not include a gathering: (n) at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility

Section 36. Restricted area means a particular area of Queensland decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Government website.

Section 24.  Gathering, subject to section 26, means:

  • Non-restricted area: under part 2 means a gathering of more than 40 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time; or
  • Restricted area: under part 3 means a gathering of more than 10 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time.

Restricted area:

Section 18. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 10 people to occur on the premises.

Non-restricted area:

Section 12. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a non-restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 40 people to occur on the premises.

Section 25, (n) excludes the University from the gathering rules. This allows work or study groups of people to be at the University with no restrictions to the number of people.

If the gathering is for social / recreational reasons, the gathering must not be larger than 40 in a non-restricted area or 10 in a restricted area.

A list of restricted areas can be found at:

the Queensland Government website.

JCU has a legal obligation to prohibit social / recreational gatherings greater than 40 (non-restricted areas or greater than 10 (restricted areas) to occur on the campus.

Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 8) 16th October 2020 

Section 17:  Universities and other higher educational institutions such as TAFEs and RTOs must ensure there is no more than one person per 4 square metres in large lecture settings. The additional conditions under paragraph 9 do not apply.

Note – smaller education and teaching sessions, such as group seminars, tutorials, practicals and laboratory-based learnings, and vocational training sessions are not subject to the one person per 4 square metres rule. Physical distancing should be observed to the extent possible.

Businesses, activities and undertakings such as cafes or sporting-based activities conducted at universities or other educational institutions must comply with the applicable requirements under this Direction.

Paragraph 9. – Universities are exempt from this for large lecture settings.

A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business, activity or undertaking must keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days, unless otherwise specified. This information must include: name, phone number, email address, and the date and time period of patronage. If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose and deleted after 56 days.

Paragraph 27. Public health controls are measures to reduce public health risks.  These measures may including environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

A limit of 1 person per 4 square metres of space in large lecture theatres. The 4 square meter rule does not apply to smaller education and teaching sessions such as tutorials, practical and laboratory-based learnings however, JCU has chosen to apply .

Physical distancing should be observed to the extent possible..

Public health controls must continue to be followed including environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

2 Close Contact

The close contact information is used for contact tracing. This is not a legal requirement only guidance that could assist in limiting the number of staff or students that could be deemed as close contacts.

Anyone deemed to be a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The criteria from Queensland Public Health is:

  • Greater than 15 minutes cumulative over a week, face to face within 1.5m, in any setting;
  • Greater than 2 hours within the same enclosed space.
  • As such, we wish to adhere to keeping contact below these thresholds, to the extent reasonably practicable, to:

  • Infection control: minimise the potential for transmission to staff or students of COVID-19 if an attendee has the virus;
  • Business Continuity: reduce any potential for large numbers of staff or students to be deemed as close contacts resulting in self-quarantine for the applicable 14 days.
  • All practicals will require the ability to produce information to allow contact tracing if required. This would include:

  • Roll for all students in each practical (if this is already captured by current systems an additional roll is not required);
  • Roll for staff and faculty at each practical;
  • The roll should include physical locations (building, room numbers) to allow determination of areas that were accessed;

3 Sick Students / Staff

If any student or staff member is sick, they must stay at home and not attend the practical.

The person in control of the practical should encourage students to advise if they are vulnerable (definition below).  The vulnerable‘ person should provide the person in control of the practical with the advice from their treating medical practitioner.  Specific controls will be determined on a case-by-case basis (e.g. participating via Zoom and assessing the person remotely, postponing the practical, etc.).

3.1 Definition of Vulnerable

For the purpose of this document, the term vulnerable will be used for people who are more at risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19.  These people include:

A person is more likely to suffer severe illness due to COVID-19 if he/she:

  • is 70 years of age or over
  • is aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • has had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • has had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • is on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • has blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • is having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

person is more likely to suffer moderate illness due to COVID-19 if he/she has:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about our risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk –speak to your doctor)

4 Physical Distancing

JCU has applied a general 4 square metres per person rule to laboratories and practicals.  If you wish to increase the occupancy of a laboratory or practical room above the general 4 square meter occupancy level than a plan must be developed and submitted to room booking.  The request will then be forwarded to the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMT) for assessment.

Your plan should include a diagram with the proposed layout and documentation of the COVID-19 controls that are proposed for the session.

Additional considerations for laboratories:

  • Keep 1.5 metres away from others to the extent possible.;
  • Avoid physical contact with any other person during the practical to the extent possible;
  • Provide each student with their own materials for the practical (if this is not possible, refer to section 7. Shared Equipment);
  • Where it is essential that people are closer than 1.5m.  Only conduct this for the minimum time possible.  Keep all others at >1.5m at all other times.

5 Handwashing and Hygiene

All staff and students should wash their hands with soap and water or >60% alcohol-based sanitiser:

  • Prior to entry into the laboratory;
  • After touching their face / coughing / sneezing;
  • After removal of PPE; and
  • On completion of the laboratory work.

Students should be encouraged to cover coughs / sneezes, dispose of tissue immediately, and wash hands immediately.

Each laboratory must have access to:

  • Handwashing facilities with soap and paper towel or hand sanitiser (such as >60% alcohol); and
  • Techniques – poster attached.

6 Laboratory Environment

  • Where is it safe to do so, prop the laboratory door open at the start and end of classes to reduce the number of people touching the door; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, taps, light switches, bench tops, chairs between classes.

NOTE: Detergents and other cleaning products are intended for physical removal of dirt, oil and other substances. Either clean with a detergent first then disinfect, or use a product that both cleans and disinfects at once.

Acceptable disinfectants include:

  • Alcohol solutions at >60% (such as ethanol) e.g. methylated spirits; or
  • Products marked as disinfectant.

7 Shared Equipment

Minimise the use of shared equipment. Avoid sharing pens, paper, keyboards or phones.

Ensure shared or communal equipment is decontaminated/ cleaned thoroughly between users (use 60% ethanol spray or bactericidal wipes impregnated with at least 60% ethanol to clean equipment).

8 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Continue to use any personal protective equipment required for the task and/or as instructed. Reusable PPE e.g. laboratory coats / safety glasses must not be reused until cleaned / laundered.

Acceptable laundering practices include:

  • Do not shake items prior to wash;
  • Do not wash laboratory items with other items;
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for detergent (e.g. correct concentration);
  • Dry laundry in clothes dryer; and
  • Ensure person conducting laundry wears gloves (and apron if heavily soiled).

Cleaning of other reusable PPE (e.g. safety glasses): *

  • Wash thoroughly with detergent followed by disinfectant between users (use 60% ethanol spray or bactericidal wipes impregnated with at least 60% ethanol to disinfect equipment).

It is not recommend to use PPE such as P2 respirators purely due to COVID-19 if there is not an existing requirement due to existing risk in the practical. PPE should only be used where there is an actual risk.

9 Practical Pre-Briefing

Additional COVID-19 advice to be discussed with students prior to practical:

  • Physical  distancing requirements apply on campus outside of classes.  Ensure the 1.5m physical distancing requirement is maintained pre and post classes;
  • In some class situations, you will be required to be within 1.5m of another student, this is being done in compliance with legislation and with appropriate precautions being taken;
  • Symptoms and signs of COVID-19 (student responsibility to not attend practical if they are unwell);
  • Personal hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette;
  • Appropriate use of PPE such as gloves, gowns, eye protection and masks, including how to don and doff PPE correctly;
  • Physical distancing rules;
  • Modifications to practical due to the COVID-19;
  • Student and staff wellbeing.

10 Approval

Teaching - Activities conducted on campus are to be approved by Divisional management. .

11 Schedules/Appendices

Appendix 1 - How to Handwash

Appendix 2 - How to Handrub

12 Document Control

VersionApproval/Implementation DateAuthorDetails
7.028/05/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updated due to release of Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction (no.6) 19/05/2020

Addition of Gathering Definition (section 23) to clarify social gathering requirements.

Update to ka.

Document Control table added to guideline.

8.002/06/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updates relating to movement and gathering direction issued on the 01/06/2020

Includes repeal of stay at home order, clarification regarding gatherings and business requirements

9.014/07/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 4) (10 July 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 2) (3 July 2020)

Includes easing restrictions to level 3.

10.019/10/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 8) (16 October 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5)  (16 October 2020).

Updates due to release of Approved COVID Industry Safe Plans, Qld Government.

WHS-PRO-GUI-002I COVID-19 Field Trip Guideline

Introduction

JCU is responsible for managing the safety of our staff, students and the public when conducting University field trips in relation to COVID-19.

JCU will monitor federal and state government advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change.

The following conditions should be considered for planning field trips, if these conditions cannot be met postponing the field trip should be considered.

1 Health Direction Qld Government:

The Chief Health Officer in Queensland issues public health directions that apply to workplaces.  These directions form the bulk of the legal requirements that JCU and members of the public must comply with.  As such, there are sections of the directions that allow the University to operate for instruction and business.

Summarised in Table 1 below are the primary requirements for JCU the Entity, Staff and Students to comply with as of the 19th October 2020.

Please note that the requirements are changing frequently.  As such constant review will need to occur.

Table 1: Relevant Public Health Direction Summaries

Social Distancing & Gatherings

Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 5) (02/09/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B

Highlighted Section:

JCU Current Interpretation:

Physical Distancing:

Section 6:

An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage visitors to the premises to practice physical distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Section 7:

A person who is leaving their principal place of residence must practice physical distancing while outside their principal place of residence, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Definition of Physical Distancing:

Section 30.  Definition of physical distancing - includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons where possible

Physical distancing shall be practiced during University activities, where reasonably practicable.

Where it is essential, physical distancing may be reduced.  Examples of essential activities that would require people to be within 1.5m of each other include activities that involve a two person lift, activities such as physiotherapy on a client where the distance cannot be maintained.

Anyone who leaves their home must practice physical distancing. This is to stay at least 1.5m from others where possible.

Where it is essential, this distance may be reduced.  This could apply such as a two-person lift, activities such as physiotherapy where the distance cannot be maintained.

Gatherings:

Section 26. Gathering does not include a gathering: (n) at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility

Section 37. Restricted area means a particular area of Queensland decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Government website.

Section 25.  Gathering, subject to section 26, means:

  • Non-restricted area: under section 12 means a gathering of more than 40 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time; or
  • Restricted area: under section 18 means a gathering of more than 10 persons in a single undivided outdoor space or single undivided indoor space at the same time.

Restricted area:

    Section 18. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 10 people to occur on the premises.

Non-restricted area:

Section 12. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, in a non-restricted area must not organise or allow a gathering of more than 40 people to occur on the premises.

Section 26, (n) excludes the University from the gathering rules. This allows work or study groups of people to be at the University with no restrictions to the number of people.

If the gathering is for social / recreational reasons, the gathering must not be larger than 40 in a non-restricted area or 10 in a restricted area.

A list of restricted areas can be found at: the Queensland Government website.

JCU has a legal obligation to prohibit social / recreational gatherings greater than 40 (non-restricted areas or greater than 10 (restricted areas) to occur on the campus.

Travelling Interstate

Border Restrictions Direction (No.15) (01/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B)

This notice provides direction to all travelers to Qld including returning residents and workers.

Direction notice ‘Border Restrictions Direction (No. 15) should be read and understood by the Field Trip Leader prior to leaving Qld for a Field Trip.  This direction notice details quarantine and entry requirements for returning to Qld.

The Field Trip Leader is required to follow the State Government requirements of the interstate destination.

2 Close Contact

The close contact information is used for contact tracing. This is not a legal requirement, it is guidance that could assist in limiting the number of staff or students that could be deemed as close contacts.

Anyone deemed to be a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

The criteria from Qld Public health is:

  • Greater than 15 minutes cumulative over a week, face to face within 1.5m, in any setting;
  • Greater than 2 hours within the same enclosed space.

As such, we wish to adhere to keeping contact below these thresholds, to the extent reasonably practicable, to:

  • Infection control - minimise the potential for transmission to staff or students of COVID-19 if an attendee has the virus;
  • Business continuity - reduce any potential for large numbers of staff or students to be deemed as close contacts resulting in quarantine for the applicable 14 days.

3 Should the field trip progress?

The following questions should be considered to determine if the field trip is able to be conducted safely and in accordance with Queensland Health and the Australian Government advice:

A

Does the trip involve interstate travel? Refer to table 1

B

Does the trip involve travel to a ‘hot spot’? Refer to https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/hotspots-covid-19

C

Can the projects be suspended or disrupted if the advice from the Government changes?

D

Have all participants been advised that they must stay at home if they are sick, or are directed self-quarantine by QLD Public Health.

E

Has COVID-19 advice and infection control principles be included in your plans and met throughout the trip, to the extent possible?

  • Physical distancing (refer to section 3.1)
  • Infection control (refer to section 3.3)

F

Is there a plan in place to manage a person who becomes ill during the trip (refer to section 3.4)?

G

Have all participants been encouraged to advise the Field trip leader if they are ‘vulnerable’ (refer to section 3.45).  The ‘vulnerable’ person should provide the Field Trip Leader with the advice from their treating medical practitioner.  Specific controls will be determined on a case by case basis. Refer to WHS-PRO-GUI-006h COVID-19 Guideline for Managing Vulnerable Staff Member.

H

Ensure all participants receive additional COVID-19 information as part of the pre-trip safety briefing (refer to section 3.5)

IAre you travelling to a JCU Research Station? If yes, ensure you have made contact with the Research Station Manager and have considered the stations COVID safe plan in your plans.

3.1 Physical distancing and Public Health Control Advice

All participants on field trips are required to meet the physical distancing and public health controls issued by the Australian Government and Qld Health, to the extent possible.

3.1.1 Physical Distancing:

If JCU have a reasonable option to separate field trip participants and meet the 1.5m requirement, then this should be applied.

If it is unreasonable to maintain the 1.5m distancing between field trip participants:

  • All participants must be advised, prior to the trip, that physical distancing will not be able to be accommodated during specific components of the trip (e.g. bus trip).  If participants choose to attend and consent to participating without physical distancing, the participants will then be classed as a single group.  Participants who choose not be a part of the single group, will be able to opt out of the field trip; and
  • The participants should maintain a distance of 1.5m from all other people/groups that they come across on the trip (e.g. bus driver, farmer, etc.) as much as is practicable, as these people are not captured in the field trip single group.
3.1.2 Number of participants on a JCU Field Trip
  • There is no JCU or government prescribed maximum number of participants for trips in regards to COVID.
3.1.3 Public Health Controls

The current public health controls include:

  • Environmental cleaning
  • Hygiene measures
  • Regular washing of hands
  • Availability of hand sanitiser
  • Avoid handshaking

3.2 COVID requirements for the use of Non-JCU Companies (e.g. chartered vehicle, restaurant, hotels, accommodation facilities)

Where the field trip participants are required to use the services of a non-JCU Company (e.g. staying a hotel, travelling in a chartered vehicle, eating at a restaurant or using a caterer) the Company offering the service is responsible for ensuring that they are running a COVID Safe Business.  The JCU Field Trip Leader is required to confirm that the company is operating in accordance with a COVID Safe Framework (i.e. COVID Safe Industry Plan, Site Specific COVID Safe Plan, COVID Safe Checklist).

The Field Trip Leader is responsible for:

  • Requesting a copy of the companies COVID Safe Framework (may be a plan, checklist).  If the Company is unable to provide a plan / checklist, the Company should not be used; and
  • Read and understand the controls detailed in the COVID Safe Framework document, the WHS Unit can provide assistance on request.

3.3 Infection Control

3.3.1 Shared equipment
  • Do not share belongings such as keyboards, pens and phones where possible;
  • Ensure shared or communal equipment is cleaned and disinfected thoroughly between users (use 60% ethanol spray or bactericidal wipes impregnated with at least 60% ethanol to clean equipment).
3.3.2 Handwashing requirements
  • Access to handwashing facilities with soap and paper towel or hand sanitiser;
  • Techniques – handwashing poster on the JCU webpage
3.3.3 Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknob, table surfaces;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys and wallets;
  • Increase the amount of fresh air available by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.

Detergents and other cleaning products are intended for physical removal of dirt, oil and other substances.

Products that are identified (e.g. on the label) as a disinfectant are used to disinfect surfaces.  Either clean with a detergent first then disinfect, or use a product that both cleans and disinfects at once.

Acceptable disinfectants include:

  • Alcohol solutions at >60% (such as ethanol) e.g., methylated spirits;
  • Products marked as disinfectant.

3.4 What to do if a participant becomes unwell (COVID-19 symptoms) during the trip?

If a person who is sick needs to be transported from their accommodation or a medical facility, the following options should be considered:
  • Isolate the person from others and request the person wear a surgical mask when leaving the room (isolated area);
  • Contact emergency services or local medical centre for advice (including transport advice);
  • Self-transport with no other person in the vehicle is the preferred option (but only if the person is well enough).  Note – a person presenting with flu-like symptoms that may include fever should not drive themselves;
  • Last resort: Another person may transport the patient.  In this instance, the person who is transporting the patient should wear full PPE (surgical mask, protective eyewear and gloves) and decontaminate the vehicle post-transport in accordance with the guidelines for ‘terminal clean’. The patient must also wear a surgical-mask during transportation.  In this instance, the person who is transporting the patient should prepare to self-quarantine for the recommended period (currently 14 days) while they confirm whether or not they will develop symptoms.

Before any patient with flu-like symptoms is transported, contact should first be made with the destination (prior to departure) to advise them of the intended transportation, and to confirm any instructions for how the patient should be managed upon arrival.

Report to WHS unit if the person is advised to self-quarantine or tests positive.

3.5 Definition of Vulnerable

For the purpose of this document, the term vulnerable will be used for people who are more at risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19.  These people include:

A person is more likely to suffer severe illness due to COVID-19 if he/she:

  • is 70 years of age or over
  • is aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • has had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • has had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • is on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • has blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • is having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

A person is more likely to suffer moderate illness due to COVID-19 if he/she has:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk –speak to your doctor)

3.6 Participant briefing

Additional COVID-19 advice for field trips participants to discuss prior to the trip:

  • Symptoms and signs of COVID-19;
  • Personal hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette;
  • Physical distancing rules;
  • Appropriate use of PPE such as gloves, gowns, eye protection and masks, including how to don and doff PPE correctly;
  • Actions on experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; and
  • Student and staff wellbeing support.

4 Approval

The Field Trip Approver in the Riskware Field Trip Module remains as the direct supervisor of the Field Trip Leader, as they are in the best position to ensure the health and safety risk controls are appropriate.  The current COVID-19 response processes also require each field trip to be approved by the Dean/Director.  This additional approval, ensures that the Dean/Director is aware of their staff member’s activities and destinations.  The Dean/Director may provide approval directly to the Field Trip Leader via email or other processes as determined by the Dean/Director.

During this interim period, any access to JCU Research Stations should be considered a field trip and are required to be entered into the Riskware Field Trip Module.

Field Trip Leaders are responsible for identifying and bringing to the attention of their Dean/Director any trips that may involve travel to or through a COVID-19 hotspot.  Quarantine requirements should be included in the field trip plan.

5 Schedules/Appendices

Appendix 1 - How to Handwash

Appendix 2 - How to Handrub

5 Document Control

Version

Approval/Implementation Date

Author 

Details

7.0

19/10/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 8) (16 October 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5)  (16 October 2020).

Updates due to release of Approved COVID Industry Safe Plans, Qld Government.

6.0

30/7/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 4) (10 July 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 2) (3 July 2020)

Includes easing restrictions to level

Updates to the section 4 – Approvals.3.

5.002/06/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updated due to the release of the Movement and Gathering Direction (no.1) 01/06/2020.

Added approval section 4.

4.028/05/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updated due to release of Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction (no.6) 19/05/2020

Addition of Gathering Definition (section 23) to clarify social gathering requirements.

Update to ka.

Document Control table added to guideline

WHS-PRO-Gui_002m COVID-19

Safe Use of Personal Protective Equipment Guideline

Introduction

JCU is responsible for managing the safety of our staff, students and the public when using personal protective equipment (PPE) as a control measure for Covid-19.

JCU recognises that PPE is in short supply and PPE must be used in the correct way and for the correct tasks.  JCU needs to ensure PPE will be available to be used by those who require it.  Unnecessary use of PPE should be avoided.

1 Types of PPE and when to use them

Surgical masks and respirators are not required as a general precaution for daily activities.  This PPE is to be worn when there is a specific potential for exposure, see Table 1: Types of PPE.

The risk of spreading COVID-19 virus occurs when:

  • Contact is made with respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes; or
  • The infected person touches a surface or object and leaving droplet material behind.

The controls to avoid the spread of COVID 19 include:

  • Practicing good hand hygiene;
  • Environmental cleaning (door handles, hand rails and other commonly touched surfaces) at least daily;
  • Isolation of infected or suspected case; and
  • Use of PPE when there is a risk of exposure.

At no time should cleaning staff enter a room occupied by a person with suspected / potential COVID-19. These spaces will be cleaned by the person occupying the space.

Aerosol generating procedures of a medical nature are not covered in this guideline.

Table 1 below provides a guide for the types of PPE that may be used and when this should be considered.

Table 1: Types of PPE

Type of Personal Protective EquipmentWhen to Use
Disposable gloves
  • When in direct contact or closer than 1.5m to a suspected (symptomatic) or confirmed case– this includes during transport;
  • Cleaning of common areas used by suspected / confirmed COVID19 cases;
  • Entering a room occupied by a confirmed case (this should be avoided);
  • Entering a room occupied by a symptomatic potential case;

Terminal clean (cleaning a room once a confirmed case has left the room).

Disposable plastic apron/gown (fluid resistant)
  • When in direct contact or closer than 1.5m to a suspected (symptomatic) or confirmed case  – this includes during transport;
  • Cleaning of common areas used by suspected / confirmed COVID19 cases;

Laundering of clothing or linen.

Coverall (full body and fluid resistant)
  • Potentially worn during terminal clean;
  • Entering a room occupied by a confirmed case.
Eye protection (this may include reusable safety goggles, single use face shields or reusable frames fitted with single use lenses. Reusable eye protection should be cleaned and disinfected after use)
  • When   in direct contact or closer than 1.5m to a suspected (symptomatic) or   confirmed case  – this includes during   transport;
  • Cleaning   of common areas used by suspected / confirmed COVID19 cases;
  • Entering   a room occupied by a confirmed case;
  • Entering   a room occupied by a symptomatic potential case;
  • Terminal   clean.
Surgical masks
  • When in direct contact or closer than 1.5m to a suspected (symptomatic) or confirmed case – this includes during transport;
  • People entering the room and the person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should wear a surgical mask if the person with COVID-19 remains in the room;
  • Suspected / confirmed COVID-19 cases should wear a surgical mask when leaving their isolation area;

During transport of a person with suspected / confirmed COVID-19 a surgical mask should be used by all persons in the vehicle (including the driver).

P2/N95 Mask (fit tested)
  • When suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases with severe symptoms suggestive of pneumonia (e.g. fever, difficulty breathing, or frequent, severe or productive coughing);
  • Required for aerosol generating procedures conducted by health care professionals.  These masks are in short supply and should not be used for other activities;
  • Potentially used during terminal clean;

Vehicle drivers must wear a P2/N95 mask during transport of a person with suspected / confirmed COVID-19 where the person is displaying sustained sneezing / coughing (droplet producing symptoms).  The ill person should wear a surgical mask (P2/N95 mask is not required for the ill person).

2 Correct Process for Fitting PPE

People should use the following process to safely put on the recommended personal protective equipment before entering the potentially contaminated area:

  1. Clean your hands. This can be done with both liquid soap and running water or >60% alcohol- based hand sanitiser;
  2. Put on a disposable apron. Fasten the back of the apron at the neck and waist;
  3. Surgical mask (if required):
    • Follow the manufactures instructions for fitting the mask, a general guide is provided in Figure 1 below;
    • Do not touch the inside of the mask;
    • Do not refit during the period of use;
    • Fit your own mask.
  4. P2/N95 disposable respirator (if required due to risk of aerosol, highly symptomatic person):
    • Follow the manufactures instructions for fitting the mask:
      • There will most likely be a nose piece (wire or plastic) that must be moulded to your nose to provide adequate fit;
    • Do not touch the inside of the mask;
    • Do not refit during the period of use;
    • Fit your own mask;
    • The individual should have had a fit test with the particular brand and size of the respirator;
  5. If the person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is in the area.  They should also wear a surgical mask. Secure the ties of the mask at the middle of the head and neck. Fit the flexible band to nose bridge and ensure mask is fitted snug to face and below the chin. Do not touch or adjust the mask until you are ready to remove the mask;
  6. Put on protective eyewear to protect your eyes from the cleaning fluids;
  7. Put on disposable latex or vinyl gloves, see Figure 2.

The purpose of personal protective equipment is to reduce the risk of direct contact with contaminated surfaces.

3 Correct process for Removing PPE

People should use the following process to safely remove personal protective equipment:

  1. Remove and dispose of gloves. The outside of gloves is potentially contaminated. Remove gloves being careful not to contaminate bare hands during glove removal (see Figure 2);
  2. Clean your hands. This can be done with both liquid soap and running water or >60% alcohol-based hand rub;
  3. Remove and dispose of apron. The apron front maybe contaminated. Untie or break fasteners and pull apron away from body, touching the inside of the apron only;
  4. Remove protective eyewear/face shield. The outside of protective eyewear/face shields maybe contaminated. Remove eyewear/face shield by tilting the head forward and lifting the headband or earpieces. Avoid touching the front surface of the eyewear/face shield.  Reusable protective eyewear should be placed into a container and washed in disinfectant and water and allowed to completely air dry;
  5. Remove and dispose of surgical mask or P2/N95 respirator if worn. Do not touch the front of the surgical mask or respirator. Remove by holding the elastic straps or ties and remove without touching the front;
  6. Clean your hands. This can be done with either liquid soap and running water, or >60% alcohol-based hand rub.

Personal protective equipment can be disposed into general waste.  Do not reuse disposable PPE.

If wearing a mask, it should be either on or off – ensure it always covers both the nose and mouth and do not let it dangle from the neck.

Schedule/Appendices

Figure 1: How to fit and remove a surgical mask

Figure 2 How to fit and remove protective gloves

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0038/939656/qh-covid-19-Infection-control-guidelines.pdf

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/industry/resources-and-fact-sheets-for-industry/covid-19-cleaning-and-disinfection-recommendations

Document Control

VersionDate Implemented/ApprovedAuthorDetails
2.018/05/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updated

   

WHS -PRO-GUI - 002q - COVID-19 Guideline for Research Laboratories

Introduction

JCU is responsible for managing the safety of our staff, students and the public when operating University research spaces  in relation to COVID-19.

JCU will monitor federal and state government advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change.

The following aspects must be considered in planning research.  If the conditions below cannot be met then the operations of the research laboratory will need to be reviewed.

1 Health Direction Queensland Government:

The Chief Health Officer in Queensland issues public health directions that apply to workplaces. These directions form the bulk of the legal requirements that JCU and members of the public must comply with. As such, there are sections of the directions that allow the University to operate for teaching and business.

Summarised in Table 1 below are the primary requirements for JCU the Entity, Staff and Students to comply with as of the 20th October 2020.

Please note that the requirements are changing frequently.  As such, constant review will need to occur.

Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5) (16/10/2020) (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) Section 362B)

Highlighted Section:

JCU Current Interpretation:

Physical Distancing:

Section 7:

A person who is leaving their principal place of residence must practice physical distancing while outside their principal place of residence, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Activities at the University are to practice distancing at all times, to the extent reasonably practicable.

Definition of Physical Distancing:

Section 30. Definition of physical distancing - includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons where possible

Anyone who leaves their home must practice physical distancing.  This is to stay at least 1.5m from others where possible.

Where it is essential this distance may be reduced for the time required.  This could apply to training in the use of equipment or laboratory techniques.

Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 8) 16th October 2020 

Section 18:  Universities and other higher educational institutions such as TAFEs and RTOs must ensure there is no more than one person per 4 square metres in large lecture settings. The additional conditions under paragraph 9 do not apply.

Note – smaller education and teaching sessions, such as group seminars, tutorials, practical's and laboratory-based learnings, and vocational training sessions are not subject to the one person per 4 square metres rule. Physical distancing should be observed to the extent possible.

Businesses, activities and undertakings such as cafes or sporting-based activities conducted at universities or other educational institutions must comply with the applicable requirements under this Direction.

Paragraph 9.

A person who owns, controls or operates a restricted business, activity or undertaking must keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days, unless otherwise specified. This information must include: name, phone number, email address, and the date and time period of patronage. If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose and deleted after 56 days.

Paragraph 28. Public health controls are measures to reduce public health risks.  These measures may including environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

A limit of 1 person per 4 square metres of space in large lecture theatres. The 4 square meter rule does not apply to smaller education and teaching sessions such as tutorials, practical and laboratory-based learnings however, JCU has chosen to apply.

Physical distancing should be observed to the extent possible.

Public health controls must continue to be followed including environmental cleaning, hygiene measures, regular washing of hands, availability of hand sanitiser and avoiding handshaking.

Note: large gatherings for business or teaching activity will be limited by the ability to allow for physical distancing and approval to use the University facilities.

2 Close Contact

The close contact information is used for contact tracing.  This is not a legal requirement only guidance that could assist in limiting the number of staff or students that could be deemed as close contacts.

Anyone deemed to be a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The criteria from Queensland Public Health is:

  • Greater than 15 minutes cumulative over a week, face to face within 1.5m, in any setting;
  • Greater than 2 hours within the same enclosed space.

As such, we wish to adhere to keeping contact below these thresholds, to the extent reasonably practicable, to:

  • minimise the potential for transmission to staff or students of COVID-19 if an attendee has the virus;
  • reduce any potential for large numbers of staff or students to be deemed as close contacts resulting in self-quarantine for the applicable 14 days.

All research laboratories will require the ability to produce information to allow contact tracing if required.  This would include:

  • A roll for all participants in laboratory at any time (details must include name, address, mobile phone number and the date/time period the participant was in the laboratory);
  • Include physical locations (building, room numbers) to allow determination of areas that were accessed.

3 Sick Students / Staff

If any student or staff member is sick, they must stay at home and not attend the laboratory.

The person in control of the research should encourage all people involved to advise if they are ‘at risk’ (definition below).  The ‘vulnerable’ person should provide the person in control of the research with the advice from their treating medical practitioner.  Specific controls will be determined on a case-by-case basis through a risk management process.

3.1 Definition of Vulnerable

For the purpose of this document, the term ‘vulnerable’ will be used for people who are more at risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19.  These people include:

A person is more likely to suffer severe illness due to COVID-19 if he/she:

  • is 70 years of age or over
  • is aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and over with chronic medical conditions
  • has had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • has had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • is on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • has blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • is having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

A person is more likely to suffer moderate illness due to COVID-19 if he/she has:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk –speak to your doctor)

4 Physical Distancing

JCU has applied a general 4 square metres per person rule to laboratories. If you wish to increase the occupancy of a laboratory above the general 4 square meter occupancy level than a plan must be developed and submitted to room booking.  The request will then be forwarded to the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMT) for assessment.

Your plan should include a diagram with the proposed layout and documentation of the COVID-19 controls that are proposed for the session.

Physical distancing must be maintained at all times, to the extent reasonably practicable:

  • Keep 1.5 metres away from others to the extent possible.  Clearly mark designate work spaces for each researcher in the laboratory;
  • Avoid physical contact with any other person during the research activities to the extent possible;
  • 4 square metre per person in a laboratory (indoors where practical);
  • Provide each participant with their own materials for the research (if this is not possible, refer to section 7. Shared Equipment);
  • Where it is essential that people are closer than 1.5m.  Only conduct this for the time required.  Keep all others at >1.5m at all other times.

5 Handwashing and Hygiene

All people working in a research laboratory should wash their hands with soap and water or >60% alcohol-based sanitiser:

  • Prior to entry into the laboratory;
  • After touching their face / coughing / sneezing;
  • After removal of PPE; and
  • On completion of the laboratory work.

Participants should be encouraged to cover coughs / sneezes, dispose of tissue immediately, and wash hands immediately.

Each laboratory must have access to:

  • Handwashing facilities with soap and paper towel or hand sanitiser (such as >60% alcohol); and
  • Techniques – poster attached.

6 Laboratory Environment

  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, taps, light switches, bench tops, chairs.

NOTE:  Detergents and other cleaning products are intended for physical removal of dirt, oil and other substances. Either clean with a detergent first then disinfect, or use a product that both cleans and disinfects at once.

Acceptable disinfectants include:

  • Alcohol solutions at >60% (such as ethanol) e.g. methylated spirits; or
  • Products marked as disinfectant.

7 Shared Equipment

Minimise the use of shared equipment where possible.  Avoid sharing pens, paper, keyboards or phones.

Ensure that booking systems are in place to allow access to shared equipment to be staggered.  This could include the use of fume cabinets, centrifuges, or biosafety cabinets.

Ensure shared or communal equipment is decontaminated/ cleaned thoroughly between users (use 60% ethanol spray or bactericidal wipes impregnated with at least 60% ethanol to clean equipment).

8 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Continue to use any personal protective equipment required for the task and/or as instructed. Reusable PPE e.g. laboratory coats / safety glasses must not be reused until cleaned / laundered.

Acceptable laundering practices include:

  • Do not shake items prior to wash;
  • Do not wash laboratory items with other items;
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for detergent (e.g. correct concentration);
  • Dry laundry in clothes dryer; and
  • Ensure person conducting laundry wears gloves (and apron if heavily soiled).

Cleaning of other reusable PPE (e.g. safety glasses):

  • Wash thoroughly with detergent followed by disinfectant between users (use 60% ethanol spray or bactericidal wipes impregnated with at least 60% ethanol to disinfect equipment).

It is not recommend to use PPE such as P2 respirators purely due to COVID-19 if there is not an existing requirement due to existing risk in the practical.  PPE should only be used where there is an actual risk.  We do not wish to contribute to the shortage of PPE in Australia due to use when not essential.

9 Research Laboratory Operations

Operations of research laboratories will need to plan for:

  • Capacity of laboratories during the pandemic is based on the ability for user to maintain 1.5 physical distancing at all time to the extent possible.  JCU has applied the general 4 square metre per person rule, refer to section 4.  This may be achieved by:
    • Booking of shared equipment or bench space
    • Staggering use of the laboratory space for different research groups
  • In some situations, you will be required to be within 1.5m of another person.  This may be due to the nature of the procedure or due to supervision required teaching laboratory skills.  This is allowed but should be conducted for the component that requires being closer than 1.5m.
  • Any person with symptoms and signs of COVID-19 must not use a research laboratory
  • Personal hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette;
  • Instruct laboratory user in the appropriate use of PPE such as gloves, gowns, eye protection and masks, including how to don and doff PPE correctly;
  • Any research that involves COVID-19 must have an approved biosafety application;
  • Additional cleaning supplies should be available to clean benches and equipment after use;
  • Users of the laboratory will need to be supplied in the event of contact tracing.  A laboratory must have a process in place to provide records of users.

10 Approval

Approval for the  to use a research laboratory is to be obtained from Divisional management.

11 Schedules/Appendices

Appendix 1 - How to Handwash

Appendix 2 - How to Handrub

12 Document Control

Version

Approval/Implementation Date

Author

Details

1.0

26/06/2020

JCU WHS Unit

New Document

2.0

16/07/2020

JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 4) (10 July 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 2) (3 July 2020)

Includes easing restrictions to level 3.

3.019/10/2020JCU WHS Unit

Updates due to release of Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (no 8) (16 October 2020) and Movement and Gathering Direction (no. 5) (16 October 2020)

For more information visit 20APS-IS-COVID-19-P1.pdf

Returning to Campus Webinar

Recently the WHS unit presented at an information webinar.

Topic: Returning to Campus

Presented: July 8 2020.

Timeline: 33 minutes

To view: Click Here

The WHS Unit is available to answer any further questions staff may have and can be contact via email: safety@jcu.edu.au