Media Release 12 May 2020

Joint media release by Western Australian building and construction industry associations and unions – 8 May 2020

A coalition of Industry Associations and Trade Unions have joined together to develop guidelines for managing the risks associated with COVID-19 on Western Australian construction sites. The guidelines will be regularly updated and made widely available within the Building and Construction Industry.

The Building and Construction Industry employs over 120,000 Western Australians, 94% of who are employed in small businesses, and turns over around $33 billion each year.

As an essential service, WA’s building and construction industry has continued to operate during the pandemic, with appropriate physical distancing, hygiene and other controls in place to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus. To date, the industry has been successful, with no known cases of COVID-19 on construction sites.

Twelve industry associations and trade unions have agreed that maintaining up to date guidelines on how best to manage the health and safety risks from COVID-19 will support the industry’s continued safe operations, noting the need to manage these risks will be with communities and their industry for many months.

MATES In Construction CEO and coalition chairman Brad Geatches said: “While we’ve all been encouraged by the low number of COVID-19 cases in WA recently, publishing this guideline will help reinforce that the threat is still very real. The Federal Government’s new roadmap shows that physical distancing, hygiene and other COVIDSafe measures will need to continue to be observed on sites for some time.

“Our industry is large and diverse, so we decided it was important to capture the better practice COVID-19 risk management methods developed so far by the industry in one widely accessible guideline.

“There’s a lot of information out there from Governments and Industry organisations, and it is regularly changing, so we decided having a consolidated guideline endorsed by a wide cross section of unions and employer organisations would assist our industry address the safety concerns of COVID for workers, their families and the WA public generally.”

The guidelines address social distancing on site, hygiene, mental health and how to manage a range of possible COVID-19 related scenarios that could arise on a construction site.

The guideline is attached, and is also available through participating organisations: CFMEU Construction & General Division WA; Civil Contractors Federation WA; Construction Contractors Association of WA; Construction Training Fund; Electrical Trades Union - Electrical, Energy & Services Division, WA Branch; Master Painters & Decorators Australia; Master Plumbers and Gasfitters Association WA; MATES in Construction; National Electrical & Communications Association WA; National Fire Industry Association; Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union; and ReddiFund.

Note: the original media release with the guidelines document attached is available on the WA building and construction industry guide page of our Coronavirus resources.