This document summarises Communicat’s policies and also explains these policies in the context of current knowledge about COVID-19. Information about COVID-19 is only provided here as a convenience so that all members of our team have a consistent source of information. To the extent that health related information is stated herein, please note that such information should not be relied upon to provide medical advice as we are not health experts. You should seek further advice from appropriate medical sources.
Policies stated herein are subject to change.
- Communicat has adopted the Victorian Government’s Six Principles of COVIDSafe Workplaces:
- Practice Physical Distancing
- Wear a face mask – required at workplaces
- Practice good hygiene
- Keep electronic records (e.g. scan QR codes) and act quickly
- Avoid interactions in enclosed spaces
- Create workforce bubbles
- Materials handling – goods receival into the officeCOVID-19 can survive and infect for a period of time on surfaces. Virus survival period can range from 24 – 72 hours depending on the surface, e.g. cardboard up to 24 hours, plastic up to 72 hours. Please read the ABC News article which explains the survival period for different surfaces.
- When goods are received you should be able to refuse to sign for them. If the delivery person insists on a signature then be very careful before touching a PDA or paperwork to avoid risk of contamination from the device/paperwork. If you sign a PDA/paperwork then sanitise your hands immediately afterwards.
- Before you touch any incoming goods sanitise your hands to eliminate any chance of contaminating the goods/equipment/etc..If you do not have access to sanitiser then use hand-washing in lieu of sanitising.
- While you are working on items do not touch your face – eyes, ears, nose, mouth.
- After you finish working with the goods/equipment sanitise again.
- It would be a good idea to have some disposable gloves handy, just in case you are in doubt about what to do, or want a double-measure of protection. If you don’t have access to disposable gloves then you can use dishwashing gloves and wash them carefully after use.
- Visits and meetings with clients / business partnersVisits to client sites, suppliers and other business-related locations require approval from your manager.If you are approved to go on-site then the usual hygiene rules will apply (see below).
- We have also adopted additional hygiene measures:
- Hand washing video – (WHO recommends 1 minute). A diagram of hand washing method has been posted at all of our bathrooms (see image at the foot of this page).
- After using the bathroom and washing your hands then use the paper towel to dry your hands and again use the paper towel to then turn off the tap and to open the door to the bathroom area. You may also use the sanitiser on the table outside the toilet, or if you wish to wash your hands again you can use the adjoining shower room where the door will be chocked open.
- Use a tissue to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of used tissues immediately – if a tissue is not available then cough into your elbow
- Do not elbow bump. Remember that people now cough into their elbow. Therefore elbows may be contaminated.
- Do not handshake or make other personal contact (Hi5 etc.). Politely explain the reason.
- Do not use handkerchiefs. Instead keep a box of tissues on your desk and a small pack of tissues in your pocket/handbag. Dispose of used tissues carefully. It may be beneficial to carry a small bottle of sanitiser with you. Minimise air travel generally as airports are hotspots for infection.
- Avoid air travel and events/locations where risks may be high.
- Avoid touching face (nose, mouth or eyes) with bare hands where possible.
- Avoid sharing personal items e.g. handing your mobile phone to other persons (to view photos etc.)
- Avoid touching another person’s laptops, PCs, keyboards, mice, desks, etc.. Support staff should use remote access software to control any device that needs to be accessed. If you touch a keyboard or other potentially infectious surface then wash or sanitise your hands immediately afterwards.
- Do not share crockery. Have your own personal water bottle, coffee cup, etc.
- If you are feeling unwell please stay away from the workplace and other public places.
- Avoid handshaking and other personal contact. Politely explain the reason.
- Minimise social lunching and gatherings.
- Avoid touching retail self-service terminals; use phone payment instead.
- What to do if you are feeling unwell?If you are experiencing symptoms of a cold or similar infection, please call your manager as soon as possible before coming into the office or visiting clients.
- Symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever (88% of patients)
- Cough (68%)
- Fatigue (38%)
- Shortness of breath (19%)
88% of patients experience a fever, therefore if you are feeling unwell it is important to take your temperature.
A patient might also complain of chills, headaches or a sore throat, and nausea or diarrhoea have also been reported, though not in the numbers seen during SARS. Less than five per cent of cases so far involve a blocked nose
Refer to government information for further advice – general information,
- Isolation within the Communicat officeCoughing can spread droplets up to six metres; sneezing up to eight metres. These droplets can stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes. Therefore we are reorganising our offices to reduce the risk of infection. All staff who work at the office will be accommodated as follows:
- Each person to work within their own private office; or
- Staff who are working in a shared space will be given an increased amount of separation so they are safe in terms distance between desks.
- Remote / online connection to client systemsWe have access and sufficient licences for Net2 and TeamViewer.
- What if you need to “self-isolate?” i.e. work from home.
- If you are feeling unwell you will need to self-isolate. The company will approve working from home where required, due to the self-isolation issue. If you are feeling unwell please phone your manager.
- Please note the following checklist for working from home https://maps.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-08/form_151.pdf
- We have standardised on Microsoft Teams to be used for online chat to coordinate phone calls to team members who are working from home. Make sure you have Teams operational on your mobile device(s) and computers as a courtesy to colleagues.
- How to decide if you should you get tested?Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has stated that “There is no point in being tested if you have not travelled or if you have not had a contact with a person who has travelled, even if you have a flu-like illness. We are not saying to people who get acute respiratory symptoms, a cold, or a flu, to go and get tested for COVID-19. If you have travelled or if you have been in contact with someone who is a confirmed case, then you should be tested. Other Australians do not need testing and all they are doing is putting an unnecessary burden on the testing”. The Royal Melbourne Hospital have stated the limited conditions under which they will carry out COVID-19 testing.RMH states that: We will only test people that meet the below criteria:If you have a fever (more than 38 degrees Celsius) with acute respiratory symptoms (for example, shortness of breath or cough)
You have travelled overseas in the past 14 days before the onset of symptoms
You’ve had close or casual contact in the past 14 days before illness with a confirmed case of COVID-19See https://www.thermh.org.au/patients-visitors/coming-hospital/covid-19-patient-screening-clinic
There may be other medical organisations who have different requirements under which they will perform testing.
- How is COVID-19 spread:CDC advises that transmission occurs by (i) Directly via droplets (e.g. sneeze/cough); (ii) touching a surface that has been infected and (iii) toilets. Also note that the virus can live on surfaces for between 2 hours to 9 days. Surfaces can be inactivated by disinfection.
- What about facemasks? See points immediately above. Sneezing/coughing are only one of the risks. I can’t find clear evidence online whether direct transmission or touching surfaces is the main risk. It is clear that facemasks are only one part of the answer. Facemasks may be useful if you have a cough or sneeze and want to avoid passing droplets to other persons.
- Office cleaning. We have increased the level of cleaning and improved the materials for disinfecting office common areas (reception, lunchroom, kitchen and bathrooms).
We will continue to evolve our learning and improve our procedures and policies. Please do not hesitate to advise me of any suggestions or questions.