06/04/2020 – 🚨 STATE OF EMERGENCY
⚠️ Coronavirus is now a worldwide pandemic.
⚠️ The Australian Defence Force is being deployed to assist States and Territories.
⚠️ There is a worldwide travel ban and all persons entering Australia will now be forced into isolation for two weeks.
🚨 States and Territories of Australia have declared public health emergencies and are implementing new laws, strict lockdowns and closing nonessential services and some borders in a bid to keep people at home and reduce the spread of the virus.
🚨 All nonessential businesses must now implement their business continuity plans, including shutdown and remote work procedures for nonessential businesses as defined per each state.
🚨 Frontline officers should now consider their need for certain types of work, and if choosing to work in Crowd Control or in areas of public access, implement personal protective strategies (Full use of PPE, social distance, call emergency services if the situation escalates instead of going hands-on, etc.).
Front Line Officers should be using the below links and communicating with their employers to stay up to date (click a name below to go to the website):
- Department of Health and Human Services VIC (Recommended)
- World Health Organisation’s Covid19 Page
- Aus Gov Health Alert for Covid19
- Aus Gov Smart Traveller
- Also, see the ISIO website for hospitality workers. Remember to scale their advice to your specific situation.
- ASIAL has released a fantastic resource for all States and Territories. Here. (Recommended)
22/03/2020 – Updates are flowing faster than we can keep up with at the moment! This page has been updated again. There is a worldwide restriction on travel by the Aus Gov. Domestic travel is also being impacted.
21/03/2020 – Additional measures continue to be implemented. Security Officers on the front line should now ensure they wear gloves in any interactions with persons or where they may need to touch or handle something and have direct contact to assistance through the client or employer in case of illness or anti-social behaviour associated to the current social climate.
12/03/2020 – Please see our updated blog post below. This page has been updated with the latest information. Coronavirus has now been declared a global pandemic by the WHO. Additional measures are to be implemented.
10/03/2020 – Several deaths are now linked to the virus. Australia continues to implement measures in response to the plan. Front line staff should ensure they are following the guidelines to protect themselves (handwashing, etc). Households should stock up each shop with essentials – not panic buy all at once.
01/03/2020 – The first Australian death has been confirmed, after a man died in a Perth hospital overnight. He was infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
28/02/2020 – Australian authorities have activated the first phase of their pandemic response plan. The general public should continue with hygiene practices and review their at-home emergency kits. Workplaces should consider their options for handling sick employees, partial shutdowns and further market slowdowns.
24/02/2020 – Australian authorities report that the virus has not yet spread through local communities and that Australian cases have only been from those who have travelled or been in contact with someone who has. Current media reports suggest that the virus has not broken containment and spreads through communities faster than first thought as people carrying the virus do not show symptoms initially but are contagious. No official word has been released on this as yet. Border protection protocols remain in effect.
10/02/2020 – See the ‘Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) health alert’ issued by the Aus Gov here. The overall situation is still similar in the way the virus spreads and rising infection rates. Many countries have now isolated their borders in an attempt to stem the spread. Australia is still ‘at risk’, however, is holding steady in terms of infections and no attributable deaths. The advice below for front line workers is still valid. If someone is showing symptoms, utilise PPE before approach and consider escalation to Ambulance as required.
04/02/2020 – As a precaution, people who have been in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) are advised to self-isolate if they were in mainland China on or after 1 February 2020, when the risk of human to human transmission was identified to have significantly increased. Businesses may consider additional measures to screen for the virus and may opt to follow the same guidance around exclusion or isolation. See DHHS link below.
01/02/2020 – The Australian Govt has updated its travel advice to ‘Do Not Travel‘ to mainland China. Incoming tourists from China are no longer permitted entry.
Security Officers should continue to work with their employers as the cases in Australia are minimal, but heed the information below and have PPE available.
As of 12 March 2020, the Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic. It has spread across much of the world. The reaction to this spread by Governments and therefore citizens is increasing, and the virus and reactions to it now present a real and credible threat to the general population, regardless of possible infection or severity.
Security Officers are often on the front line with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and possible exposures to various illnesses, chemicals, drugs, etc.
People need not panic but must start exercising precautions.
What is it?
The Coronavirus can cause an infection in people and impact their respiratory system. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat or shortness of breath.
It is believed that it is transmitted through human contact and can spread in close proximity. Body fluid (e.g. from coughing) help to spread it. It has now been established that the virus can spread through human carriers or off surfaces where it can survive for some time. Human to human contact is less likely if general precautions are taken.
Don’t Panic but be prepared
People should not panic. Health experts believe that this virus is of highest risk to the elderly and those with chronic conditions already. The majority of people who may contract the virus are unlikely to experience anything more than symptoms similar to the common flu.
Daily life will be impacted so people must prepare accordingly. People should now be prepared with hand sanitiser, a regular hand washing routine and staying home in isolation if they have symptoms. They should also be prepared for a lockdown in their living conditions.
For Security Officers, this means keep doing the good job that you do out there. Security becomes increasingly important in times such as these and therefore it is likey a surge of work will become available. To ensure you are best positioned to assist, make sure to have a personal preparedness kit that you carry with you. PPE is discussed under ‘Security Response’ below. It also means a potential risk in job opportunities – however, you must take precautions.
We all know what the media can be like when we work in this industry…
So, get the news from a more reliable source.
The VIC Department of Health and Human Services has a fantastic resources page outlining what the virus is, posters and information guides for your workplace and details on responding to and containing a possible case of the virus.
Your employer is hopefully keeping up to date on the information and taking precautions. Also, remember that you are also responsible for your health and safety in the workplace. Some simple but actionable steps:
- Discuss any concerns with your employer.
- Carry your PPE and utilise it when dealing with any sick persons or potential biological hazards. Gloves, safety glasses and one-use face masks are great to carry along with small bottles of hand sanitizer.
- All these items are relatively cheap and available for purchase at places such as hardware stores, supermarkets, grocers, etc.
- Hand Sanitizers should state they kill 99.9% of germs. Most active ingredients are the same, so you don’t need to shell out for an expensive one.
- Disposable face masks should only be used if you are dealing with a biological hazard, or, someone who is symptomatic. There is no advice yet that these need to be worn regularly as they do not prevent the spread of the virus.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially when returning to an office or finishing shift.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- If you are feeling unwell, stay home and seek medical advice, as you normally would.
- Be a bit more mindful of the “it’ll be right” mentality during this as, although it is unlikely you will contract it, you also need to consider the well-being of those around you.
- If you believe you are dealing with a person who is symptomatic of the virus, maintain a safe distance and do not touch them. Utilise PPE. An ambulance may need to be called or advice sought from the hotline (1800-675-398).
If you work in hospitality, hotels, etc. you should utilise your surroundings for clues. For example, if you are attending a hotel room listen out for coughing or nose blowing. Additional information can be found at the International Security Industry Organisation’s website (please level the advice given on this page to where you work and risks associated with your workplace).
- Monitor for unwell employees, welfare check and consider sick leave.
- Provide hand sanitizers that kill 99.9% of germs in both public and private areas for your staff and customers.
- If you operate in a higher risk environment (such as place of mass gathering, medical facility, etc.) have PPE available for your team. Large scale outdoor events of more than 500 people are banned and indoors people must be practising social distancing.
- If you have questions, consult the Coronavirus hotline on 1800-675-398.
- Provide information for your employees from the links in this blog.
- Implement your continuity plans and be prepared for a lockdown scenario.
- Get in touch with a Consultant if you need additional assistance on security or risk management and responding to this in your workplace.
Remember that our industry is often the face many of the public will first see. A strong and united position with the correct tools and resources (such as signage, sanitizer and redirection to the Health Department) will help us and the public be reassured they are as safe as can be.
Taking precautions now pays dividends later.