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Manufacturing sector guidance

Sector guidance for the Manufacturing business within metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

See below for up to date operational guidance and frequently asked questions for this sector.

For frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses go to our

Abattoirs and Meat Processing Facilities

Business Operating Reductions

Step One restrictions

What are the new restrictions for abattoirs and meat processing facilities?

From 11:59pm on 13 September 2020 the following changes will need to be adopted by Victorian abattoir and meat processing facilities.

Each abattoir and meat processing facility will:

  • enact a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response if coronavirus cases are linked to their workplace
  • reduce the number of people in the workplace
  • increase the regularity of deep cleaning
  • enforce the wearing full personal protective equipment by staff on site
  • where practicable COVIDSafe Plans should be designed with input from employees and their representatives

Employees will be:

  • temperature tested each day and regularly tested for coronavirus
  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work
  • able to work at only one premises
  • required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace.

Application

Do the restrictions apply to all meat processors?

The restrictions apply to:

  • abattoirs (beef, pork, lamb) and further meat processors, such as small goods manufacturers, and poultry processing facilities with more than 25 employees; and
  • seafood processing facilities with more than 40 employees.

Why are smaller processors not included in these restrictions?

Facilities that have a small workforce number have greater flexibility in operations and a slower processing speed. This enables them to be better equipped to manage the increased social distancing required.

There are significant differences between seafood processing and other meat processing and there is a low prevalence of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in this industry.

How many meat processors must comply with the restrictions?

In Victoria there are in the order of 120 meat processing facilities and around 45 seafood processing facilities that are required to comply with the restrictions.

Are the restrictions for abattoirs and meat processing facilities the same in regional Victoria as they are in metropolitan Melbourne?

Yes. These restrictions will come into place, statewide, at 1.59pm Saturday 8 August 2020.

What are the arrangements for the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff on site?

The Victorian Government is working closely with industry – and will ensure they have the most appropriate personal protective equipment for every setting.

Industry will be required to have personal protective equipment and there will be checks to ensure they do. If businesses are struggling to get the personal protective equipment they need, the Victorian Government is available for advice and support.

Reduced operations requirement

What is the level of operation for meat processing facilities except poultry?

Meat processing facilities except poultry must not operate with more than 67 per cent of their daily peak and daily total workforce capacity.

For abattoirs and further meat processing, businesses with 25 workers or less are exempt from the reduced capacity requirements. Abattoirs and further meat processing with more than 25 workers will be required to reduce to two-thirds of their peak workforce capacity or to 25 workers, whichever is higher.

For seafood processors, businesses with 40 workers or less are exempt from the reduced capacity requirements. Seafood processors with more than 40 workers will be required to reduce to two-thirds of their peak workforce capacity or to 40 workers, whichever is higher.

What is the definition of reduced operations requirements and peak capacity?

A daily peak workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the highest number of workers on site at any given time on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

A daily total workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the total number of workers on site on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

In circumstances where an outbreak at a pork processing facility requires the facility to be closed, other businesses will be able to ‘scale-up’ capacity as approved by Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer. This will ensure that disruption to the processing cycle does not result in animal welfare issues and/or the euthanasia of animals not for human consumption.

What is the definition of a worker?

Workers refers to people working on a site including, but not limited to, owners, managers, employees, contractors, workers on labour hire and security.

It does not include workers undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance.

It does not include staff specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace e.g. workers doing additional cleaning of high-touch points or overseeing the implementation of COVIDSafe practices.

Why does poultry have a different level of operation?

Poultry production systems are time-sensitive, with a defined growing period for chickens. Production systems, from hatching to processing, are planned to ensure there is capacity to manage chickens at each stage of the process. The processing capacity for poultry facilities during these restrictions ensures that production systems are not disrupted which could potentially create animal welfare issues.

Chicken meat is the most consumed source of protein in Australia. Victoria heavily relies on four major processing facilities that process on average between 150,000 and 200,000 birds per day, with 97 per cent of production for domestic consumption.

A 20 per cent reduction in staffing at poultry processing facilities will reduce the transmission risk of COVID‑19 while:

  • allowing throughput volumes that maintain chicken meat supply
  • reducing very significant animal welfare issues including the destruction of large numbers.

Poultry processing in highly automated, and less workers are required compared to abattoirs.

Documentation

What documentation is required?

Specified worksite operators will be required to declare in an attachment to their COVIDSafe Plan:

  • the location and nature of the activities undertaken at sites intended to continue restricted operations;
  • the peak workforce capacity levels calculated for each site and the time period used to establish these levels;
  • the restricted workforce levels proposed for each site during the restriction period calculated in compliance with the order; and
  • that the operator will retain and agrees to make available for inspection the business records and calculations used to establish the restricted workforce levels and demonstrate compliance with those restricted workforce levels through the period to which the restriction apply.

Compliance and enforcement

Government is introducing a specified worksite reporting regime supported by independent compliance reviews and site inspections. The process is being established to ensure the specified worksites comply with the intent of the order and can provide independently verifiable evidence of their compliance during and after the restriction period.

What documentation do I need to retain?

The COVIDSafe Plan and attachment (as specified above) must be retained and be available for inspection on request. It will not be otherwise be submitted to or endorsed by the Victorian Government.

Operators will also be required to retain and make available for inspection evidence of the peak workforce capacity level determined, including roster, time and attendance, payroll and other site attendance records.

Who will enforce these restrictions?

Authorised officers will be undertaking site inspections for workplaces subject to reduced operation requirements to ensure they are complying and have a complete High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

How will compliance be monitored?

Site operators will be randomly selected for independent compliance review and asked to demonstrate compliance with the order. To facilitate these compliance reviews which will take place both during and after the Stage 4 restriction period, operators will be required to retain and make available for inspection site rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records as requested.

Compliance reviews will be conducted by independent agents appointed by the Victorian Government for this purpose.

Poultry Processing Facilities

Business Operating Reductions

Step One restrictions

What are the new restrictions for poultry processing facilities?

From 11:59pm on 13 September 2020 the following changes will need to be adopted by Victorian poultry processing facilities.

Each poultry processing facility will:

  • enact a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response if coronavirus cases are linked to their workplace
  • reduce the number of people in the workplace
  • increase the regularity of deep cleaning
  • enforce the wearing full personal protective equipment by staff on site
  • where practicable COVIDSafe Plans should be designed with input from employees and their representatives

Employees will be:

  • be temperature tested each day and regularly tested for coronavirus
  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work
  • be able to work at only one premises
  • be required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace.

Application

Do the restrictions apply to all poultry processors?

The restrictions apply to poultry processors and further meat processors with more than 25 employees

Are the restrictions for abattoirs and meat processing facilities the same in regional Victoria as they are in metropolitan Melbourne?

Yes. These restrictions will come into place, statewide, at 1.59am Saturday 8 August 2020.

What are the arrangements for the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff on site?

The Victorian Government is working closely with industry – and will ensure they have the most appropriate personal protective equipment for every setting.

Industry will be required to have personal protective equipment and there will be checks to ensure they do. If businesses are struggling to get the personal protective equipment they need, Government is available for advice and support.

Reduced operations requirement

What is the level of operation for poultry processing facilities?

Specified worksites must not operate with more than 80 per cent of their daily peak and daily total workforce.

For poultry processors and further meat processing, businesses with 25 workers or less are exempt from the reduced capacity requirements. Poultry processors with more than 25 workers will be required to reduce to 80 per cent of their peak workforce capacity or to 25 workers, whichever is higher.

What is the definition of reduced operations requirements and peak capacity?

A daily peak workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the highest number of workers on site at any given time on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

A daily total workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the total number of workers on site on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

In circumstances where an outbreak at a poultry processing facility requires the facility to be closed, other businesses will be able to ‘scale-up’ capacity as approved by Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer. This will ensure that disruption to the processing cycle does not result in animal welfare issues and/or the euthanasia of animals not for human consumption.

What is the definition of a worker?

Workers refers to people working on a site including, but not limited to, owners, managers, employees, contractors, workers on labour hire and security.

It does not include workers undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance.

It does not include staff specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace e.g. workers doing additional cleaning of high-touch points or overseeing the implementation of COVIDSafe practices.

Why does poultry have a different level of operation to other meat processors?

Poultry production systems are time-sensitive, with a defined growing period for chickens. Production systems, from hatching to processing, are planned to ensure there is capacity to manage chickens at each stage of the process. The processing capacity for poultry facilities during these restrictions ensures that production systems are not disrupted which could potentially create animal welfare issues.

Chicken meat is the most consumed source of protein in Australia. Victoria heavily relies on four major processing facilities that process on average between 150,000 and 200,000 birds per day, with 97 per cent of production for domestic consumption.

A 20 per cent poultry processing facilities reduction in staffing will reduce the transmission risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) while:

  • allowing throughput volumes that maintain chicken meat supply
  • reducing very significant animal welfare issues including the destruction of large numbers

Poultry processing in highly automated, and less workers are required compared to abattoirs.

Documentation

What documentation is required?

Specified worksite operators will be required to declare in an attachment to their COVIDSafe Plan:

  • the location and nature of the activities undertaken at sites intended to continue restricted operations;
  • the peak workforce capacity levels calculated for each site and the time period used to establish these levels;
  • the restricted workforce levels proposed for each site during the restriction period calculated in compliance with the order; and
  • that the operator will retain and agrees to make available for inspection the business records and calculations used to establish the restricted workforce levels and demonstrate compliance with those restricted workforce levels through the period to which the restriction apply.

Compliance and enforcement

Government is introducing a specified worksite reporting regime supported by independent compliance reviews and site inspections. The process is being established to ensure the specified worksites comply with the intent of the order and can provide independently verifiable evidence of their compliance during and after the restriction period.

What documentation do I need to retain?

The COVIDSafe Plan and attachment (as specified above) must be retained and be available for inspection on request. It will not be otherwise be submitted to or endorsed by the Victorian Government.

Operators will also be required to retain and make available for inspection evidence of the peak workforce capacity level determined, including roster, time and attendance, payroll and other site attendance records.

Who will enforce these restrictions?

Authorised officers will be undertaking site inspections for workplaces subject to reduced operation requirements to ensure they are complying and have a complete High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

How will compliance be monitored?

Site operators will be randomly selected for independent compliance review and asked to demonstrate compliance with the order. To facilitate these compliance reviews which will take place both during and after the Stage 4 restriction period, operators will be required to retain and make available for inspection site rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records as requested.

Compliance reviews will be conducted by independent agents appointed by the Victorian Government for this purpose.

Frequently asked questions

Updated on: 16 September 2020

For frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses go to our

Frequently asked questions - Regional Victoria

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Manufacturing sector. The following frequently asked questions apply to regional Victoria. Find out more about Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Under the Steps towards a COVID normal in metropolitan Melbourne there are no workforce capacity reductions for businesses manufacturing PPE.

Workforce capacity reductions do not apply to businesses in the manufacturing sector in regional Victoria.

Yes, the meat processing industry remains a high-risk industry and High Risk COVIDSafe Plans are required.

Frequently asked questions - metropolitan Melbourne

Updated on: 2 September 2020

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Manufacturing sector. The following frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne, which is currently at Step One of Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Permitted work premises

No. The manufacturing of cars is not a permitted work activity under the Public Health Directions.

The manufacturing of fabricated metal generally refers to activities related to iron and steel forging, structural steel fabricating, metal container manufacturing, and sheet metal manufacturing.

Under the Steps towards a COVID normal in metropolitan Melbourne there are no workforce capacity reductions for businesses manufacturing PPE.

Workforce capacity reductions do not apply to businesses in the manufacturing sector in regional Victoria.

The manufacturing of boats is not a permitted work activity under the Public Health Directions.

The repair of boats is only permitted if the boat question is directly necessary for a permitted service or industry, or is required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work.

Routine maintenance and repairs of boats that does not meet this criteria is not a permitted work activity.

Yes. Businesses are able to open on-site to ensure the necessary production, supply, manufacturing, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services required for the operations of a premises on the permitted industry list.

The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose.

No. Caravan manufacturing facilities are not permitted work premises under Stage 4 Restrictions.

If you are based in regional Victoria, Stage 4 restrictions do not apply to you. You can continue to operate but must work from home if possible.

Clothing and textile manufacturers may operate for the purposes of producing personal protective equipment, including cloth masks. The production of other garments and products must cease.

Other

Closed Work Premises may be accessed on site only where there are safety or environmental obligations. The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose. Routine maintenance and testing is not a permitted activity but a worker may access the premises for carrying out emergency maintenance of necessary infrastructure, such as IT servers.

No.

Ancillary and support businesses are able to open on-site to ensure the necessary production, supply, manufacture, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose.

Yes. All jobs that can be done from home must be done from home.

No, the reference to the manufacturing of glass and glass products does not extend to fibreglass or products built with fibreglass, such as boats. Fibreglass manufacturing may only occur where it is an input to an industry listed on the Permitted Work Premises list.

Yes. If your manufacturing facility is permitted, all workers must wear the appropriate level of PPE, including face coverings, in the workplace. The appropriate level of PPE for your workplace must be outlined in your COVIDSafe Plan.

Yes, the meat processing industry remains a high-risk industry and High Risk COVIDSafe Plans are required.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.