Policy and Procedure Updates – COVID-19
Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading relatively quickly in a number of countries and can cause serious illness, especially in older people with pre-existing medical conditions. The infection has not yet been of significant scale in Australia and certainly not in this SW corner of the continent. However, MRBTA staff deal directly with close to a million visitors per year in total, so taking a precautionary approach makes good sense.
A likely scenario for COVID-19 is that it infiltrates the population of most countries in the same way as influenza virus. In which case, the strategy for protection will be a matter of implementing consistent, sensible hygiene regimes, as we should in a serious influenza season. If we get these in place now, we will be as well prepared as possible should COVID-19 become widespread, as well as having extra defence for the flu season in winter 2020. The fact that both viruses are transmitted in the same way means that precautions for one are good for the other. The viruses can be spread by airborne droplets from nose or mouth, similar droplets on food, or by touching a hard surface soon after an infected person has touched it.
Our strategy may be extended according to circumstances but will commence with us all establishing some additional standard procedures which are outlined within this document.
Although the spread of COVID-19 is concerning, we need to implement sensible and consistent precautions that are in line with the current level of risk.
At this stage, there is no advantage in any staff wearing masks. While these are effective to reduce spreading viruses if worn by people with infections, they have limited use when worn by healthy individuals.
The COVID-19 virus may have first transferred to humans in China and be more prevalent in some countries, such as China, Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran, it is important that MRBTA staff do not make the mistake of regarding visitors from those countries in any different way. We will continue to welcome and serve all customers with the same high standards of professionalism and respect as always.
Management will be monitoring various websites and updating staff and with additional news and changes to policy and procedure as it becomes relevant.
The following sites are relevant in gaining access to information:
- WA Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
- Australian Department of Health https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus
- Australian Health Direct Website (include symptom checker) https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/
- World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/covid-19
- World Health Organisation – Getting your workplace ready https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf
- Smart Traveller https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
MRBTA Financial Mitigation
- Corporate Services to monitor overall financial performance of sites to adjust expenditure accordingly
- All non-essential business expenditure will be reviewed
- With reduced travel MRBTA income may be significantly be impacted. This will be taken into account for next year’s budgeting. 32% of our visitors are international, 20% interstate and 40% intrastate. We may expect to see increased intrastate and significantly reduced international visitation.
Site Policy and Procedures
- Using medical grade hand sanitiser/disinfectant at intervals during the day. This will be made available to staff in rest rooms, by POS computers, at workstations, etc.
- Washing or disinfecting your hands after each tour, or at regular intervals for other staff. Washing or disinfecting your hands before and after eating.
- Using diluted bleach solution to wipe down often touched surfaces such as door handles (especially toilet/washroom), taps, counters, touch screens, etc. as defined by your Site Manager.
- Reducing the number of times you handle visitors’ personal belongings such as credit cards. There will be work situations where you are handling tickets, boarding cards, retail merchandise, luggage, etc. in which case you should subtly disinfect or wash your hands at intervals and before putting your hands to your face.
- Trying to remember not to touch your face with your hands.
- Standing at a polite distance from a visitor who has flu-like head or chest symptoms, remembering that airborne transmission is unlikely at more than 2metres.
- Staying at home if you have flu-like symptoms.
- Ensuring that you take advantage of MRBTA’s offer to pay for an annual flu vaccine (the 2020 winter version will be available in April). Whilst the 2020 version will not include COVID-19 protection, it will reduce your risk of other viruses. The risk of COVID-19 causing severe illness would be greatly increased if someone is also fighting other virus diseases.
- Contain and/or minimizing the spread of infection in the workplace by Following Hand Washing Procedure with Posters placed in bathrooms at all sites https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/A1CCE88EB168930CCA257E35007F6927/$File/wash_dry_hands.pdf
- Posters placed at site which are relevant for travelers:
- All business travel is to be cancelled until further notice.
Any recent travel and feeling unwell
- If an employee has had had any recent travel and they are feeling unwell with the symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat and tiredness, they will need to complete Manager COVID-19 Health and Safety Form and return to Corporate Services.
- Employee is to contact their local hospital or GP and provide them with their travel history and symptoms before attending an appointment. If they are experiencing severe symptoms such as shortness of breath call 000.
Covid-19: Restricted Return to Work
As of 16th March 2020, all persons returning to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days until further notice.
If an employee contacts you advising they have recently travelled internationally you should contact Corporate Services immediately, and the individual must:
- not return to work
- contact their GP or local medical practice if they have symptoms consisting of fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath, advise of their recent travel and symptoms and seek medical assistance