Safe Work Australia

The Safe Work Australia website has been updated to provide a central hub and a single source of information for workplace health and safety guidance and tools to help Australian businesses return to work safely and confidently. It includes guidance about physical distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, workers’ compensation, how to conduct risk assessments and design emergency plans, as well as providing case studies to help explain how to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces

Coronavirus (COVID-19): A checklist for Agricultural workers on symptoms and testing

This guide is to help workplaces reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). All workers who have symptoms like those seen with coronavirus (COVID-19) should not go to work and should get tested. This will help prevent outbreaks of the virus in the workplace, protecting not only fellow workers, but also the broader community. This document provides guidance to workplaces about worker health checks.

Download the guide here

For more information about coronavirus (COVID-19) including in the workplace, see the department’s website: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

COVID-19 has caused significant changes to your business this harvest.

All businesses should now have plans in place to meet the government requirements for social distancing during harvest. These changes will enable you to keep your family and staff safe during the season.

COVID-19 restrictions enacted by the government mean changes are required for every chestnut business this harvest to accommodate social distancing requirements for:
• Accommodation
• Transport
• Picking in the orchard
• Packing sheds

These requirements have created additional work but are necessary to protect your family and staff and minimize potential disruptions during harvest.

Implementing these plans and documenting how it is being carried out will help you protect your family and staff and reduce the impact on your business if someone does get ill. It will also aid the work of the police and health departments should a detection of coronavirus occur.

Citrus Australia has produced the online ‘Guide to COVID-19 in the Orchard & Packing Shed (click here)’. It has practical information that can be applied to every business.

Please note:
There are many regulations and policies that have not yet been developed by government in this unprecedented event. Any that have, continue to change often.

Each state is developing its own policies.

This is a guideline only. If it doesn’t match what else you may have heard, and you are concerned, seek clarity. At the end of the day, follow best management practices and document this as evidence for anyone who may ask.

Freshcare Certification

Freshcare Certification Bodies have procedures in place to ensure that businesses can sustain their certification to Freshcare throughout the COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses due for an audit now, or who have a certificate that expires in the next few months should refer to the following information, to maintain their Freshcare certification.

Audit due or scheduled
• If it is possible for the auditor to conduct your on-site audit, it should be undertaken when scheduled.
• If restrictions do not permit your audit to be undertaken, Freshcare Certification Bodies have provisions in place to provide certificate extensions up 6 months as outlined below.

Certificate extensions up to 6 months
• Freshcare certificate extensions are issued by your Certification Body.
• Certification Bodies will request evidence from the business prior to granting a certificate extension.
• Certificate extensions are based on a risk assessment of the business/situation as conducted by the Certification Body.
• Records of certificate extensions are maintained by your Certification Body and updated in FreshcareOnline.
• Certificate extensions will extend the certificate expiry of your current certificate only. This will be evident  via an update to the expiry date and new reference number on your certificate.
• You must schedule a date for your recertification audit to be conducted before the certificate extension expires.

Certificate extensions cannot be provided
• If the participating business account remains unpaid or the previous audit is still open.
• If the business’ reasoning to not have an audit undertaken is not justified.
• If the business is no longer operating, has been recently sold or transferred.
• If the business does not confirm that they will continue with Freshcare certification after the extension.
• If there is a complaint against the business or food safety incident, that requires investigation or on-site visit.

Contact details for the Certification Bodies approved to audit the Freshcare Standards can be found here:

Certification Bodies

Hort Innovation – COVID-19 information for horticulture participants
Alerts and resources have been compiled and are intended to help growers and others in the horticulture industry keep up to date with trusted information in these unusual times – particularly news and updates relating to continuing to operate. Pages will be updated with further advice and links as they become available.

https://www.horticulture.com.au/growers/covid/