7 step action plan for employers
On the 5 October 2021, Mark McGown announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for FIFO and other resource sector workers in WA from 1 December 2021 (WA Government Media Statement).
Following the recent mandate from the WA Government, WCA Solutions has developd a 7 Step Action Plan for Employers and FAQ’s to assist employers and employees understand their obligations.
7 Step Action Plan
- Communicate changes to all affected employees as a priority.
- Conduct a risk assessment in the workplace in accordance with Fair Work Ombudsman guidelines to assist in what ‘lawful and reasonable’ looks like in the context of mandatory vaccinations.
- Develop and implement a Policy clearly articulating to employees what their obligations and consequences are.
- Amend employment contracts to ensure these requirements are clear and understood by employees.
- Ensure recruitment processes reflect these requirements.
- Ensure there is a process for managing employee COVID-19 vaccination records in accordance with the Privacy Act.
- Lastly, communicate, engage, educate and support employees along the journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to download a copy of these FAQs.
Who is impacted?
The mandate will affect all workers within the WA resources sector, including mining, oil and gas, and exploration. Any workers who work on a mining or resource site, in remote or rural operations or working remotely within other mission critical operations (for example, a Perth-based remote operator of a rural or remote operation) will be affected.
It will also affect any visitors to these operations.
There are medical exemptions for approved reasons – for more information visit the Services Australia website
What is rural and remote?
The Department of Health defines rural locations as having a population of 99,000 -10,000 and remote locations as having a population of 10,000 or less.
The Supreme Court defines the following regions as containing rural and remote locations:
- South West
- Great Southern
The mandate is effective from 7 October 2021 and affected workers will need to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by 12:01am on 1 December 2021. Affected workers will need to be fully vaccinated (receive 2nd dose) by 1 January 2022.
The Government is mandating vaccinations to address the risk posed by movement of resources sector workers. The mandate is to protect resources sector workers, Aboriginal communities and the wider community. In particular, the Government is seeking to protect vulnerable groups within regional and remote communities, from potential contact with infected workers.
AMEC chief executive, Warren Pearce commented in Mining News “should there be further outbreaks, exploration, mining and mining service companies with a fully vaccinated FIFO/DIDO workforce should be allowed to continue to operate, ensuring that our workforce can continue to work.”
Employees take note
The mandate applies to individual employees and so if an employee has not received the COVID-19 vaccine by 1 December, and provided evidence to their employer, they will not be allowed to attend or work on rural or remote mine sites and operations.
What happens if an Employee refuses to be vaccinated and/or refuses to provide records confirming they have been vaccinated?
In the event an employee does not satisfy the mandatory vaccination requirements as directed by the WA Government and or a Public Health Order, the following actions may be taken by the employer:
- The employee will be stood down without pay and will not be permitted to work at site.
- The employee will be encouraged to comply and provide evidence that they have been vaccinated.
- In the event that an employee continues to refuse to comply, the employer may take further disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of employment.
Employers take note
The onus is on the employee to provide the employer with evidence of their Vaccination by the prescribed date.
The employer must collect and maintain records of all vaccinated workers and ensure that visitors are also vaccinated. All documentation will need to be collected and maintain in accordance with The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Exempt Medical conditions
In the event an employee has a valid condition preventing them obtaining a vaccination, affected employees will be required to provide medical evidence from their training medical doctor confirming their exemption in accordance with the WA Government guidelines.
Where can workers get vaccinated?
Affected workers can get vaccinated at:
- Pop-up clinics in Pilbara towns
- Perth Airport (from 11 October)
- State Run Clinics
- Most GPs
- Most Pharmacies
For more information visit the Roll up for WA Website.