ORGANISATIONAL PLAN FOR COVID-19 SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT
As public health restrictions are gradually relaxed in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, our plan is to remain both sensible and vigilant, endeavouring to protect our staff, patients and visitors to our practice from the risk of COVID-19 as far as is practicable.
The following plan utilises the Safe Work Australia COVID-19 safe workplace principles and is consistent with current advice from health authorities and Safe Work Australia.
Working from home
For the provision of GP services, it is not practicable for the majority of our workers to work from home. However, our practice has redesigned many of our business practices and services inline with the working from home principles including but not limited to:
- whether the worker is in a vulnerable person category for contracting the virus
- suitability of work activities
- workflows and expectations
- workstation set up
- surrounding environment such as ventilation, lighting and noise
- home environment, such as partners, children, vulnerable persons and pets
- communication requirement such as frequency and type
- mental health and well-being of the worker
- safe working procedures and training requirements, and
- potential risk of infection on journeys to and from the workplace.
Vulnerable workers will continue to work from home if required. Relevant staff have been given secure, remote access to our server.
Doctors working from home have both remote access and Telehealth facilities. Our booking system has been redesigned to accommodate this.
Practice Manager, Michelle Horswood and Office Manager, Tom Aldous have 3CX access to mobile devices if required.
Staff, patients and visitors to our practice are to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters where practicable. Due to the increasing incidence of community transmission in July, on arrival, patients and visitors will have their temperature checked, and it is requested they wear a mask. All staff will wear a mask while in the practice.
If closer examination is required by our clinical staff appropriate PPE is used including gown, mask, goggles and gloves.
Our practice strategies to ensure a physical distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained include:
- Stringent telephone triage is used by reception staff to ensure patients possibly infected with COVID-19 do not attend the practice. Given our location, patients with a positive epidemiological history are offered a Telehealth consult and if indicated redirected to an appropriate testing facility and/or the local hospital.
- Telehealth appointments are encouraged, particularly for patients in the vulnerable groups
- Queuing at the reception desk has been marked out with floor stickers to ensure adequate distance
- Perspex screen have been installed at reception
- Work areas have been redesigned to ensure adequate distance
- Staff meetings are undertaken using Health Direct.
- For staff and patient safety masks are being distributed to staff and are being distributed to onsite patients, in line with current NSW Health guidelines for healthcare workers.
- Supplies of PPE are kept onsite and stockpiles monitored.
Handwashing and hygiene
Sound personal hygiene and regular hand washing is encouraged and supported at our practice.
- Staff have received education as to when hand washing is indicated and also appropriate technique.
- Staff have received education in relation to hygiene methods to limit the spread of viruses and other air-borne organisms including but not limited to coughing and sneezing in to their elbow or tissue, avoiding touching their face, hygienic disposal of tissues.
- All clinical areas have sinks facilities to enable hand washing with soap and water.
- Alcohol based hand sanitiser is available in multiple locations including every room throughout the practice.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- O’Connell St Clinic is cleaned and disinfected daily by suitably qualified contract cleaners as per Safe Work Guidelines.
- “Terminal cleaning” is conducted if a person suspected or known to have COVID 19 has attended the practice. Any items the patient has touched are including pens, clipboards etc. The area remains vacant for at least 30minutes following cleaning.
- Our staff routinely clean their work area, computers and headsets using wipes impregnated with universal disinfectant when leaving for breaks and at the end of each day.
Our practice is mandated by the NSW Work Health and safety Regulator and NSW Health to notify SafeWork NSW of a case of COVID-19 arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking. Notification is made by calling SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50. Provision of personal details of the affected person is not required. Notifications must be made regardless of whether NSW Health is already aware of the case.
If a positive case has been onsite at the clinic, we will contact public health and follow instructions. Our practice will promptly provide any requested information to public health.
If a staff member tests positive, our practice will contact public health and follow instructions. If the staff member was not onsite 48 hours in advance of becoming symptomatic we will contact Public health and follow instructions.
Workers are obliged by Work, Health and Safety laws to do what is both reasonable and practicable to protect themselves and others.
At O’Connell St Clinic our staff are requested to:
- Stay at home if unwell. In particular have a fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose and/or shortness of breath.
- Stay at home if you become aware of any potential exposure to COVID-19. In particular, if a person you have been in contact with reports an epidemiological history or develops symptoms which meet with COVID-19 testing criteria and/or have tested positive.
- Inform your manager ASAP of your need to stay home. Contact your GP and follow instructions re: testing for COVID-19 and self-isolation.
- Download the COVID Safe App. This is recommended but voluntary. As per the Australian Privacy Legislation, workers will not be asked if the have or have not downloaded the app. Safe Work Australia COVID Safe App Guidance.
- Maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres. Follow organisational guidelines in relation to establishing and maintaining adequate social distance
- Practice sound personal hygiene including but not limited to washing hands with soap and water, using hand sanitiser regularly and ensuring appropriate cough/sneezing etiquette.