New protocols for shearing during COVID-19

shearing--5The Shearing Contractors Association of Australia has listed the shearing protocols in response to COVID-19.

1. Maintain 1.5 metre distance between personnel at all times

Shed staff considerations:

  • Travelling separately in vehicles unless the vehicle can allow for 1.5 metre distancing, e.g. bus
  • Wool handlers waiting until the shearer is in the catching pen before they pick-up

    Woolgrower considerations:

  • Only using every second shearing stand
  • Must have own rooms in camp out jobs (consider utilising other buildings)
  • Meals – ensure eating areas can provide 1.5 metre distancing

    2. Implement and follow strict hygiene regimes

    Shed staff considerations:

  • Wash frequently with soap and water, before and after eating and after using the toilet
  • Bring own soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser and towel
  • Don’t share cups or water bottles
  • Encourage sweat band use and use of own towels – the virus cannot be transmitted from an infected person through sweat alone but can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep gear separated – workers to bring storage bags or tubs for their gear

    Woolgrower considerations:

  • Provide running water (no basins), soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser and paper towel
  • Ensure adequate space in eating rooms to enable 1.5m distancing between staff

    3. Over-communicate

• Talk to staff each day
o Remind them to practice social distancing and/or isolation each night in suburban jobs – recommend that people don’t visit friends and family
o If they feel unwell do not come to work, or leave work if feeling unwell
o Don’t pressure staff to work – if they are nervous and don’t want to work, find alternative workers

• Contractors & woolgrower communication
o Forewarn, accept and manage for lower productivity/higher costs – safety and welfare are prioritised over profits and time
▪ Considerations for woolgrowers include:

  • Animal welfare
  • Additional labour costs

o Plan for several months ahead

o Plan to be restricted to ‘essential shearing only’
o Encourage communication via phone where possible
o Essential personnel only – do not allow people that are not essential to the wool harvesting process i.e. visitors, children, etc into the shearing shed, especially older people

4. What to do if a someone becomes unwell at work

  • Isolate as soon as possible
  • Notify relevant people including contractor or woolgrower
  • Follow dept of Health procedures: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-
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