12/01/2022

The COVID Ready plan for South Australia’s energy and mining sector has been revised in response to the learnings of the past month and the current infection dynamics in South Australia. The revised document Assessing and managing the risk of COVID exposures in the energy and mining sector V2 (PDF 438.6 KB) has been prepared based on advice from public health specialists at SA Health.

Points of interest within the revised document are:

  • A key change to the arrangements for close contacts. Importantly, the intent of the revision is not to enable all contacts to return to the workplace, as this would have the potential of increasing infection risk in a manner unlikely to be in the interest of the site or the public. Rather, the intent is to ensure critical continuity by ensuring that, subject to additional risk mitigation, the opportunity exists for critical staff to maintain operations without disruption.
  • After vaccination, effective mask wearing (preferably p2/N95) remains key to suppressing transmission, and assists in workers being able to avoid being captured under the contact criteria.
  • Shared meal areas are one of the most common transmission sites, and a worthy focus of continued review to reduce infection risk.
  • Assume workers with symptoms are positive, even if RAT results are negative. PCR tests provide a definitive result.

The measures described in the plan are known to limit the transmission of the virus in the workplace. The biggest risk of infection on site remains social interaction in the wider community, and mask-wearing and social distancing continue to be central to workers diminishing their risk of infection, both at home and at work.

Our sector continues to be resilient and perform strongly, significantly due to an existing workplace safety culture and a high level of risk orientation across the industry, complemented by the efforts of company pandemic leads to contribute to continuity planning and incident response procedures in response to the shifting pandemic environment. On behalf of the Department, I commend the revised sector plan to you as a tool to support your business continuity plans, and I also reiterate the Department for Energy and Mining’s commitment to working with everyone across the sector to ensure the health and safety of workers, the South Australian public and the success of these essential industries.

As those companies who have managed outbreaks thus far will no doubt attest, SA Health and SA Pathology staff should be acknowledged for their collaboration with the sector as COVID-19 has become prevalent in this state. Their pragmatic advice has allowed safe operations to continue with little disruption and have ensured companies are well placed to continue to maintain that performance.

Now that full staffing arrangements are back in place for 2022, any queries can be emailed to Health.DEMtoHealth@sa.gov.au

Stay well and all the best for the New Year.

Vince Duffy acting for

Paul Heithersay
Chief Executive
Department for Energy and Mining

The information contained in this resources and energy industry update has been verified by the South Australian Government COVID-19 Public Information Function Support Group coordinated by SA Police.

The Department for Energy and Mining acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of South Australia. We recognise and respect the cultural connections as the Traditional Owners and occupants of the land and waters of South Australia, and that they continue to make a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the State

Wednesday 12 January 2022

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