COVID-19. Important information for our members.
Also, use the menu drop down function to read the"Funds Assistance" page or click here.
The situation with the coronavirus is changing every day, so please be sure to refresh this page and check our Facebook page for updates.
The PPTEU, along with other construction unions, employer associations and other industry partners believe that it is not in the interest of the industry and its workforce for sites to be closed down partially or fully due to Covid-19, whilst we must all maintain public and private health standards for everyone in the community.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the office is open with restricted member access.
In line with recommendations with Government, we are taking preventative measures for the health and safety of the members and staff. The office is open, but unfortunately we have reduced staff at the front counter to offer face to face assistance at reception. We ask members to be patient and to use the relevant numbers listed on our home page to assist with your enquiries. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes, but these measures are necessary during this unprecedented health event. We strongly advise all members to use this web site to keep up to date with daily announcements affecting you and our industry. For general health advice on COVID- 19 you can call the Vic Government hotline on 1800 675 398 or check out their website.
28 July 2020
COVID-19: Building and Construction Industry working party guidelines V6
In line with National Cabinet decisions, the Victorian Government and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is progressively reviewing its directions and community restrictions. Accordingly, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry have been reviewed in light of those directions and advice from the office of the Victorian Chief Health Officer.
Revision 6 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines dated 28 July 2020 has now been approved for issue. These amendments have been endorsed by DHHS and checked to ensure that they can be implemented in accordance with regulatory occupational health and obligations and guidance material from WorkSafe Victoria.
These Guidelines have been revised to incorporate the new regulations approved under the OHS Act on 28 July 2020. The Regulations provide that employers are required to notify WorkSafe immediately on becoming aware that an employee or an independent contractor or a contractor’s employee has received a conﬁrmed COVID-19 diagnosis and has attended the workplace during the infectious period. Self-employed persons are also required to directly inform WorkSafe immediately on receiving a conﬁrmed COVID-19 diagnosis if they have attended the workplace during the infectious period.
The Chief Health Officer and the DHHS has now recommended that adults in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Mitchell Shire wear a face mask when outside of their home, if it is difficult to keep 1.5 meters apart from other people. For building and construction sites the practicality of this new advice is simple.
When travelling to and from work where you cannot physically distance and on public transport.
Whenever travelling in a hoist or lift.
In a confined space. Any uncertainty should be clarified with a health and safety representative.
Travelling in a vehicle with other people.
When operating an item of plant with another person.
The term face mask includes both cloth masks and single use face masks (commonly known as surgical masks). Both masks are suitable for use to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID -19). N95/ P2 masks, must be compliant with Australian Standard 1716.
22 July 2020
Please note that the WorkSafe guidance on face coverings has been released.
WorkSafe has today published guidance ‘Managing Coronavirus (COVID-19) risk: Face coverings in workplaces’.
As specified within the Orders/Directives, workers are required to wear a face covering whilst working unless an exemption applies.
One of the exemptions includes that: Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to that person’s health and safety related to their work, as determined through OH&S guidelines, including that the wearing of a face covering during a work activity would present a risk to the health and safety of the worker or others (as identified through a risk assessment)
In such cases, the employer must ensure that other controls are in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Whilst a worker may not be able to wear a face covering for a particular work activity, absent any other exemptions applying, this would not negate the need to wear a face covering in other circumstances at the workplace e.g. in a lunch room setting.
27 May 2020
COVID-19 Rapid Industry Guidance
Protocols for Temperature Screening in the Building and Construction Industry.
The Covid-19 Building and Construction Working Group have developed guidance for industry regarding temperature screening.
These protocols are required to be adopted as a minimum in any documented company procedure for Temperature Screening.
13 May 2020
The VBA has introduced a 6-month provisional plumbing registration.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has been required to postpone plumbing registration examinations (Journeyman exams) for apprentices who have completed their plumbing apprenticeships.
This is due to the physical distancing requirements associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the resulting temporary closure of exam facilities at many TAFEs and RTOs.
Usually, qualified and experienced apprentices must complete the Journeyman exam before they can gain registration. If they complete their apprenticeship and carry out plumbing work without being registered, they would be doing so unlawfully.
To ensure affected apprentices aren’t unfairly prevented from gaining registration, the VBA has introduced a 6-month provisional plumbing registration. Plumbing apprentices are eligible for this provisional registration if they have completed their apprenticeship and the Certificate III in Plumbing and are unable to undertake the Journeyman exam due to its postponement.
Any completing apprentice who gains provisional registration will lawfully be able to continue working under a licensed plumber for a period of 6 months. Apprentices granted a provisional registration will be managed by the VBA and prioritised to complete the registration exam once exam facilities are available again. The exam must be completed within 6 months of the date of the provisional registration.
We encourage any affected apprentices who meet the criteria for provisional registration to submit an application. The application fee and provisional registration fee have been waived.
For information on how to apply, and to start an application, visit Apply for plumbing registration on the VBA website.
If you require any further information, please contact the VBA Customer Service Team at customerservice (at) vba.vic.gov.au.
8 May 2020
Joint media release by Western Australian building and construction industry associations and unions.
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.
7 May 2020
Incolink Bus to test for COVID-19
The PPTEU's industry partner and redundancy fund, Incolink is utilising their health bus to test construction workers for COVID-19 under a new initiative supported by the State Government.
Onsite testing commenced at Multiplex’s Melbourne Square project, the site which had the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the industry.
To welcome the initiative, PPTEU State Secretary Earl Setches was on site to be amongst the first from the construction industry to receive a test via the new mobile health bus.
Earl stressed the importance of this momentous initiative in supporting the health of workers and the construction industry during this time.
The PPTEU will continue to support any initiative that further protects the safety of construction workers whilst our industry continues to help rebuild the country’s economy. We are proud to support Incolink to extend the use of their health bus to test for COVID-19 and encourages all members to utilise this great tool to ensure their safety.
Incolink’s health bus is supported by a range of industry partners, including the CFMMEU, ETU, Cbus, MBV and CoINVEST.
Builders and workers can read more on how tests are to be delivered and register to have the Incolink Bus visit their workplace at: http://incolink.org.au/covid19-testing/
1 May 2020
The PPTEU have secured financial help for apprentices if they are stood down due to Covid-19.
The PPTEU has now secured financial hardship payments for eligible apprentices.
The changes to enable the Incolink Hardship payment means that apprentice workers have access to up to $1000.00 per month if they are stood down due to Covid-19.
Money that they wouldn't otherwise have been able to access.
Nothing has changed for apprentices made redundant. It only applies to being stood down due to Covid-19.
Guidelines for the Building and Construction industry in Victoria have been updated, providing direction to employers and workers, for the steps required to be taken to best provide a safe and healthy environment, and the actions available in the event of interruption to building and construction work, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These guidelines have been adopted and agreed between the unions and the Industry Associations involved in their development.
9 April 2020
Building Industry Consultative Council Statement - COVID-19
The Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) is a high-level advisory council to the Minister for Industrial Relations. It is made up of employers, industry associations unions and Government. The BICC advises the Minister on economic, workplace and industrial relations issues affecting Victoria’s building and construction industry.
Today at a specially convened meeting the Council endorsed a comprehensive set of Guidance Notes for the Building Industry for CoOVID-19 that have been developed by industry participants and the department of Health and Human Services and WorkSafe.
The Guidelines deal with Safety, work organisation, physical distancing, responding to positive COVID-19 cases, cleaning and disinfection of worksites and other related matters. The Guidelines represent a single point of reference for all employers and workers across all sectors of the building and construction industry.
The Chair of the BICC, Peter Parkinson said the industry needs to be focussed on the safety of its people aa a first priority and keeping people employed safely. He said “we can only do that if we all commit to the new way of working. These guidelines provide the best way to achieve that.”
Council Member PPTEU Federal Secretary, Earl Setches said “the safety of our members is paramount to us, so we will continue to follow the advice of the experts to ensure their safety. There is a lot of misinformation going around - we cannot act on this - we can only listen to the experts and that is what we will continue to do. Our members deserve to be supported and respected during these unprecedented times for the vital role they are playing in the construction industry”.
To read the full media release, see the PDF attached below.
7 April 2020
"Construction is safe and vital for the Victorian economy", says Premier
Daniel Andrews has delivered a message full of reassurance to the construction industry: not only is it safe to keep working, but we should expect plenty more work in the pipeline.
In an interview with ABC News about the state’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Premier made it clear that the necessary precautions are being taken to keep workers in our industry safe, healthy and employed.
And in more great news for PPTEU members, he talked up the major role construction will play in the state’s economic recovery, with even more projects to be brought online once the worst of the current crisis passes.
“When we get to the other side of this, the biggest construction boom in our state’s history will need to be even bigger,” he told ABC News on Sunday.
“We will need to do more to protect jobs, to create new jobs, and make sure that we bounce back from this as strong as we possibly can.”
“Ultimately it’s safety that’s driving it”
The Labor Premier said there were many good reasons to keep our industry going during the crisis, and they began with safety.
“You can still be in the construction sector and observe some of the social distancing practices. It’s safe, that’s the medical advice.
"Beyond that, if you were to shut down some of these jobs, public and private, it’s not just flicking a switch.
“You’ve got to decommission equipment, you’ve got to do all sorts of things. So it becomes often very difficult to restart those jobs.
"But ultimately it’s safety that’s driving it.
"You can operate construction sites, albeit they’re all different, you can have that sector functioning and observe social distancing, increased hygiene. That’s the medical advice.
"If the advice changed, then the status of that sector would change.”
1 April 2020
ATTENTION ALL PPTEU APPRENTICES – see below message from Earl Setches, Federal Secretary of the PPTEU.
"The Union has not forgotten the Apprentices' value to the Union. You are the future of the PPTEU and an integral part of our industry.
We have commenced discussions with Employer Associations, Incolink, Government departments and other Unions in relation to some financial support for apprentices in the event of a COVID-19 shutdown.
We will be providing updates as they come to hand.
Fear not, we have your best interests at heart."
31 March 2020
Incolink now has only one account, the Incolink Redundancy Account. Incolink has moved to one account to make it easier and fairer for workers.
It is recommended members register with the "WorkerLink"portal for claims.
Visit the Incolink web site to read about the changes.
27 March 2020
A video message from the State Secretary
Financial support for construction workers.
Please see the flyer for information regarding stand downs or redundancy to assist with financial support.
26 March 2020
We have produced an information flyer to provide direction to employers and workers, for the steps required to be taken to best provide a safe and healthy environment, and the actions available in the event of interruption to building and construction work, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These guidelines are applicable as at 25 March 2020, noting that it is likely that further Government announcements regarding COVID-19 may result in changes. These guidelines will be updated as required. Note also that the Building and Construction Industry has not been included as a “nonessential
business or undertaking” pursuant to the Closure Direction issued by the State Government of 23 March 2020.
25 March 2020
Building and Construction Industry Employers and Unions Unite on COVID-19 Safety Message
The Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Civil Contractors Federation (CCF), Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Master Builders Victoria (MBV), Master Plumbers, National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union (PPTEU), Property Council Victoria and the Urban Development Institute of Australia [Victoria] (UDIA) have united to send a strong message to the building and construction industry: Treat this situation very seriously and with the highest importance by adhering to all the recommended safety procedures.
The united group stress the need to follow appropriate measures and guidelines which stipulate strict hygiene practices, social distancing and separation of workers on meal breaks, in addition to other measures, to ensure sites can be kept safe and stay open.
Employer groups and unions have worked together to develop guidelines in line with government recommendations and they should be adhered to immediately and followed dutifully by all employers and employees.
The united group has and will continue to follow guidelines from both the National Cabinet and Victorian State Government, which confirms that stage two restrictions do not apply to construction sites and electrical and plumbing services – as these are considered essential activities.
As vital constituents of the economy, it is critical that all stakeholders of the building and construction industry work together to ensure the protection of employers, workers, their families and our community.
The group will continue to work with all relevant leadership and government bodies – including following the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer – to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their collective memberships and the community.
18 March 2020
18 March 2020
For further information, see our OH&S Bulletin on coronavirus that provides information on measures and explains efforts for both workers and employers to increase facilities and the need for personal hygiene, and the need to reduce person to person contact.