The ETU is working closely with major electricity and transport employers to ensure worker safety is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As essential services, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy, Transgrid and Sydney Trains must keep operating. However the companies must re-assess all working procedures to protect employees, particularly through social distancing and the supply and use of appropriate PPE.
The ETU supports upgraded health and safety measures initiated by companies. The union has raised a list of additional controls members should use in their risk assessments.
A maximum of two people per vehicle where social distancing (1.5m) can be achieved, ie one driving, one in the back. Open the windows or select external air on the air conditioner – don't select 'recycle'.
Sufficient supplies of wipes and detergent must be provided so workers can wipe down all vehicle surfaces, at a minimum, at the beginning and end of each shift.
The union calls on companies to reform vehicle policies to facilitate social distancing. This should include:
Only one person in the bucket. Where manual handling requires a second person, employees must wear coveralls and P2 masks as a minimum requirement.
Depot and other meetings should be held using available technology to avoid unnecessary physical interaction. Wherever people are required to meet, strict social distancing must apply.
Contact with the public
Members should apply social distancing in all interactions, including with customers and the public.
Where emergency responders are required to attend a dwelling, the company should contact residents in advance to confirm whether any person is sick, displaying any symptomsof the virus or in quarantine.
With more people at home, ETU members have reported incidents of abuse from members of the public during power outages. If you are threatened or abused, report the incident and remove yourself from the location.
Prior to the commencement of work, ensure that your work group has a pre-start job discussion, identifies any site-specific hazards or risks and implements the appropriate controls to mitigate the hazard or risk. If sufficient controls cannot be implemented , STOP work immediately and PAUSE for safety. Notify your supervisor/manager If the work cannot be done safely.
Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters before they are implemented.
ETU supporting members
The union continues to provide the full range of members services during the pandemic. Call your organiser for support and advice on any workplace matter, contacts here: http://etunsw.asn.au/corona-virus/full-contact-details-for-etu-nsw-act-organiser-phone-numbers
For other inquiries, please contact the union by email for response and referral email@example.com
Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT