Health bus boosts COVID-19 safety on construction sites
Incolink, with the support of the Victorian Government, has rolled out its ‘Incolink Health Bus’ dedicated mobile testing facilities across Victorian construction sites to test workers for coronavirus (COVID-19). Testing commenced at the end of April at West Side Place, being built by ProBuild, with the health bus being joined by a range of industry partners who have helped fund and support the initiative. The testing is being carried out with the assistance of Icolink’s bus partner, the Australian Prostate Centre (APC), and its team of general practitioners and nurses, who are supervising and conducting the state government’s approved nasal and mouth swabs.
“Incolink is delighted to deliver this initiative funded and backed by our industry and the state government. The health and safety of workers is paramount. This initiative will help construction continue to operate and ensure we can be at the forefront of the recovery of the economy,” Incolink Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Erik Locke said. “The involvement of the state government and our industry partners has allowed us to commence this initiative quickly, allowing all those on-site workers and contractors on and off the tools access to testing. Widespread testing will give workers and the community confidence in the safety of our industry.”
“The Australian Prostate Centre (APC) is proud to continue its working relationship with Incolink as part of a unified commitment to support the health and safety of workers in the construction industry,” APC CEO Mark Harrison said. Construction workers receive a result within 48 hours, Incolink advised. Any worker showing symptoms of COVID-19 is already encouraged not to attend work, while those that arrive at the testing site with symptoms will be seen to immediately to determine whether they should be sent home or to a medical clinic. In the event of any positive test by a worker, the government will be notified and the worker required to self-isolate for 14 days. Existing industry guidelines on managing COVID-19 social distancing, which have been approved by the state government, will be referred to in determining the impact on other workers of a positive test.
A number of employer associations and industry unions and funds have come out in support of the initiative. Troy Gray, State Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, for example, said: “Our union is a proud supporter of this initiative and we’ll be encouraging our members to participate.” The CEO of Cbus, a construction and building superannuation fund, said: “As a pivotal workforce in the Australian economy, this testing regime is an important initiative to keep workers informed about their health and safety and enables prompt action if necessary. Workers are persevering despite the challenges of COVID-19 and it is important we look out for one another as our members will be at the frontline of the recovery.”
On 13 May, Incolink announced that it had completed its 2000th COVID-19 construction worker test, ahead of schedule. “We have reached this milestone early and that is a great vote of confidence in our industry and the spirit of partnership all parties are working in. We couldn’t have got here if not for the support of the Victorian Government and our partners in industry who have co-funded this initiative with us,” Locke said. “We promised the state government we could test 1200 workers in a month and have undertaken 2000 in just under a fortnight. This is a sign of what our industry can do together and we’re very proud to be playing our part in keeping workers safe and sites continuing to operate.
“Construction is a significant generator of jobs and economic activity. Having undertaken 2000 tests in Victoria we are now offering our services to the Tasmanian Government so we can help ensure Tasmanians can be confident that workers on-site are healthy and safe,” Locke concluded. Builders and construction workers can register to have the health bus visit their workplace at www.incolink.org.au/covid19-testing.
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