RCC formed a Covid Response Team in March 2020, made up of a diverse group of people from across the business whose sole job was to support our people and our projects through an extremely challenging time. Like the rest of the industry, we were met with a unique problem that hadn’t been dealt with previously, so it was an opportunity to create new ways of working and collaborating in order to keep the business, our people and projects safe.
Now, 18 months on, our Response Team and the wider business has pivoted from a focus on processes and response plans to managing the safety of our people and Covid cases on site. In 2021 the Delta strain and evolving Government advice has driven our businesses agile approach. Despite the ever-changing Covid landscape, our approach remains centred on the crucial balance between maintaining the safety of our staff and community, whilst ensuring appropriate measures are taken to remobilise the site as quickly as possible in line with NSW, ACT or QLD Health requirements.
Early on we decided that proactively leading an RCC process which was authorised by Health was the best way to manage positive cases and ensure our sites weren’t impacted by the backlog caused by the upward trending numbers in NSW.
The Key to Success
With more than 50 live projects and thousands of workers on our sites each day, managing the safety and continuity of our delivery is important. Over the last couple of months RCC’s Covid Response Team have managed over 25 instances of positive cases attending an RCC site.
In line with strict internal protocols and State Health guidelines, our team’s rapid response to contact tracing, notifications, cleaning and testing protocols has ensured safe and efficient remobilisation of site. This consistent outcome is testament to the stringent measures in place and the commitment of our staff who have all assumed the role of Covid Marshal to ensure ongoing compliance.
Our process, supported by NSW Health, has allowed us to safely remobilise sites, generally within 24 hours, which is important for our workforce, industry and economy during difficult times.
RCC’s process involves input from various parties with detailed analysis of the workers movements applied to a risk assessment model developed in conjunction with the various State Health bodies. Key to this system is our Covid Response Team remaining impartial, aligning our approach with government advice when identifying Close and Casual Contacts.
We appreciate the support of the NSW Health as well as all our trade partners and clients who are collaboratively working with us to ensure an efficient and measured response in every case.
“Much planning goes into any risks our projects face, including for the possibility that one of our workers comes to site COVID positive without knowing. When it occurred on the Walsh Bay project, the RCC site team worked with the COVID Response Team to manage the situation.
Planning paid off as the subcontractors, the client and all involved were kept up to date with what had occurred, how it was being managed and what the next steps were. Cleaners were on site quickly, close and casual contacts traced and testing for the workforce organised. It is a credit to the careful planning and execution of RCC’s COVID Response Plan that construction was underway again the following day.”
Rene Burkart – Project Director, Infrastructure NSW
RCC Positive Case Process
Over the last week or so we are seeing a shift in case numbers and locations, as the vaccination coverage increases, and we pass the 21-day mark after the 1st dose for most employees. This is an encouraging sign as we continue to communicate vaccination as the path out of site shutdowns, loss of work and productivity in the future.
A number of initiatives including webinars with medical professionals discussing the benefits of vaccination on individual and community outcomes, regular communication with staff and major prize draws are making a difference in encouraging RCC employees and our project partners to do their part to increase vaccination rates.
With the state roadmaps to eased restrictions being rolled out, we are considering long-term strategies which will allow us to continue providing our workforce with a safe working environment, relevant communication and security.
RCC is working with Government bodies on pilot initiatives to identify ways our industry can consistently manage the impact of Covid on construction sites and communities. As construction returns to 100% capacity in NSW, we remain vigilant and prepared to provide our clients and industry partners with confidence that we will remain responsive and flexible to take on what is next, together.
Keep an eye on our socials to learn more about how we will be protecting our people, our industry and our community moving forward.