For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Australian shores, the construction industry will feel the impact of the new restrictions. Stage 4 affected regions have numerous rules and regulations to abide by for the next six weeks. Not only will the new restrictions affect Victoria’s blue-collar worker’s workload, but also their retail suppliers, who may be forced to close their doors indefinitely. Most retailers who can’t remain open, are either redirecting their customers online or if they don’t have the capacity, temporarily or permanently closing. At BAD workwear, we’re thankful and happy to have the resources online to assist our customers with any of their workwear needs during the lockdown. We understand a lot of our customers are still working and require the appropriate equipment to facilitate their onsite needs.
Blue-collar workers are one of the few industries that can work at any time of the day. With this curfew in place – in some cases – could make life difficult for tradies in regard to grabbing the essential food or supplies before or after work. When outdoors, everyone must wear a face covering, including onsite.
What Does this mean for Victorian Tradies?
Now, what does this mean for Victorian tradies, and what are the additional restrictions imposed for the workforce within the construction industry? From the 5th of August, all onsite workers require permits. These are required before, during, and after work. All unpermitted workplaces during these lockdowns should be closed. The permitted sites in which construction is taking place are the following:
A. Building and non-building construction (including residential);
B. Construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support these projects;
C. And critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety.
From these permitted worksites, they are broken up into “Large-Scale” and “Small-Scale” construction categories. Within these categories, they each have further restrictions in place to be followed for the six-week lockdown period.
Large-Scale Construction Sites
Large-scale construction sites are defined by structures being more than 3 storeys (including basement), larger than 1500sqms and any office or retail fit-out. These sites are required to limit their workers to 25% of the normal number of employees allowed on site. It’s also important that supervisors or management confine all workers and contractors to the one site where possible, to avoid any unnecessary crossover or blended shifts.
Small-Scale Construction Sites
Small-scale construction sites are defined by structures smaller than 3 storeys (such as residential homes). On these sites, only a maximum of 5 people is permitted on-site, including the site supervisor. Movement between these sites should be limited, with a one-site-a-day ruling in place. Supervisors and specialist tradespeople (e.g. plumbers, tilers etc.) can move only between 3 sites a week. This reduces the fortnightly hours worked drastically for some tradies, where their services are only required a few hours per site. The only exemption for the 3-sites-a-week rule is for those who are installing critical OHS equipment such as scaffolding or safety rails.
Regardless of the construction site category, all sites must have ‘High-Risk COVID Safe Plan’ in place. For those who require or want more information, you can read more about it here:
What does this mean for Retail Suppliers?
The enactment of Stage 4 restrictions has taken an enormous toll on all retail suppliers across the state. All non-essential retailers have been fighting for survival ever since Australia’s first lockdown back in March. Victoria has most certainly faced the strictest restrictions and most difficult conditions of the entire nation since this time. Some small to medium businesses (retailers) have been hit the hardest, where many have been forced to shut indefinitely. Some have put their business on hold, and some are using their online shopping capabilities to stay alive. Larger business retailers have also taken a hit, but with the resources, most of them have around the country, their business has been able to operate continuously. In Victoria, there are only a few ‘essential’ retailers that are permitted to remain open during Stage 4. These include any essential food/beverage retailers, Fuel Retailers (service stations), hardware/building/garden supply retailers, and emergency motor vehicle part retailers. The essential workforce that is construction workers, the Hardware retailers, have been permitted to remain open to facilitate the needs of these tradespeople. This includes BAD Workwear, with our workwear being an essential source for our tradespeople customers. However, we do encourage our customers to use our website for any essential online purchases they require. This is a tough time for all Victorian businesses and their employees, and we extend our best wishes to everyone across the state.