The Building &Plumbing Industry Makes Face Masks Compulsory

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Updated: October 8, 2020

As the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise via community transmission, it is now more important than ever that we all practise good hygiene, maintain social distancing and take extra precautions to slow the spread of infection.

This means wearing a face covering at all times, including when:

  • Travelling to and from sites on public transport or with other people in a vehicle.
  • Travelling in a personnel hoist or lift.
  • Working in a confined space.
  • Operating an item of plant or equipment with another person.

There are exceptions for people affected by a relevant medical condition, such as breathing problems or a severe skin condition on the face, and for those whom wearing a face covering creates a health and safety risk as determined through OH&S guidelines.

A correctly fitted face mask will help contain the water droplets that spread when people speak, laugh, cough or sneeze, reducing the risk of transmitting diseases such as COVID-19.

The requirement to wear a mask comes from Victoria’s Chief Health Office and applies to everyone in affected areas – not just to the building and construction industry.

  • If you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire and you need to travel outside of these areas, you must wear a face covering.
  • If you are travelling to metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire for a valid reason, you are also required to wear a mask or face covering.
  • If you live in other parts of Victoria, it is recommended you wear a face covering when you leave home and are in situations where it is difficult to maintain at least 1.5m between yourself and others.

The VBA recommends wearing a correctly fitted N95, P2 or KN95 mask if working in close proximity with others for more than 15 minutes or for more than two hours in a confined space.

They also recommend wearing disposable gloves and safety glasses (or another form of eye protection).

If you’re ever unsure, please be cautious and wear PPE while on site. You can also speak to the construction industry’s coronavirus hotline by calling 1800 675 398 and selecting Option 5.

The building and plumbing sectors are vital to Victoria’s economy. That’s why we must all take precautions to reduce the spread of infection.

Simple steps you can take include:

  • Sanitising your hands before entering a site, after leaving a site and frequently while you are there.
  • Staying at least 1.5m from other people.
  • Working with one person per four square metres of space, whenever possible.
  • Wiping down your tools and equipment with alcohol wipes.

We all have a part to play in keeping our industry and communities safe. That’s why we must all follow the rules, which have been endorsed by building and construction unions and employer and industry associations.

Together, we will keep our industry healthy, open and strong.