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Wellington Water's approach to managing the risks of COVID-19

COVID-19 unceremoniously landed on our lap in 2020 and reappeared as a delta variant in 2021, and omicron in 2022. COVID-19 is a highly transmissible virus that is extremely risky for the aged and those with pre-existing health concerns.  For everyone, the virus is not good for the respiratory system and if contracted can lead to ongoing health problems. The virus, and its variants, is highly contagious and so controls are necessary to protect our people from its effects and to ensure our health system is available to treat those who need it the most. 

Initially, Aotearoa tried to eliminate the virus from our shores but over time it has become apparent this strategy is not possible if we want Aotearoa NZ to be connected to the rest of the world, and we do. Minimising the impacts of the virus is therefore the plan while we go about our daily lives and conduct business.

We have taken a whānau approach and have worked with our supply chain partners to ensure a joined-up approach to managing the risks of COVID-19.

We have consulted with staff on a range of proposed controls to manage the risk of COVID-19. Our guiding principle has been centered around inclusion while ensuring the risks are controlled as far as reasonably practicable. These controls do include the use of vaccinations for some roles within our business.

We encourage everyone to be vaccinated, however showing a vaccine pass is not a requirement for accessing our business premises. All other controls, such as face masks (surgical / P2/N95), physical distancing, etc. must be followed.

 

Responding to COVID-19 across our work activities

We have utilised CHASNZ's (Construction Health and Safety New Zealand) COVID-19 Contact Classification Process as a base to create our response process. 

Our process can be used to support your business in responding to an incident on your site. Our document can be found here.

 

Requirements for accessing Wellington Water operated treatment facilities under 'red' traffic light setting

The following controls apply to anyone attending a treatment facility operated by Wellington Water staff (Wellington metro drinking water plants, SWDC water, and wastewater plants):

  • All visits (aside from an urgent reactive task) to facilities require planning and scheduling for RAT through our Network Management Group Planner Scheduler (speak to your WWL contact about this person).
  • A RAT is required for any person attending a WWL Treatment Facility if the task involves indoor contact with a plant operator within 48 hours prior to visit and provides evidence of a negative result.  The WWL staff member who has invited/engaged external parties is to arrange this with a H&S team member.
  • Whenever there is to be indoor interaction with a Treatment Technician a Rapid Antigen Test is strongly recommended for Wellington Water staff. However, for external parties it is compulsory.
  • Test kits will be made available by H & S staff at designated WTP/WWTP areas.
  • RAT is just one measure in NMG’s multi-barrier approach along with strict adherence to mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene practices.
  • The H & S team will be available for ongoing support.

 

Guidance on letter drops / door knocking under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Lights)

Customer/residents letter drops and door knocking can be conducted under Green and Orange levels so long as it can be done safely.

Door knocking in a Red setting should not go ahead unless critically important and can be done so safely. Letter drops can continue. 

Precautions include:

  • Mask wearing during the letter drops / door knocking (maks must be P2 / N95 / KN95, not cloth or surgical
  • Knock on the door, place a letter somewhere the resident will see it, and leave the property. Include a contact number for them to call
  • Always keep 2 metres away from members of public or the customer/resident

The letters are also a good opportunity for us to drive people to more virtual/online sources of communication and make people aware of the COVID protocols we are taking to ensure the safety of our people and the public. To this end, we ask that the letters include the following information:

  • Make it clear that we will be making more use of virtual channels e.g. provide people with an email address / contact details of someone that people can email or call if they have any questions
  • Where possible provide the url for the project web page on the Wellington Water website where people can find out more information about the project
  • Outline the key COVID protocols that the project team on site will be working to

 

Mandatory contact tracing 

Businesses are required to take steps to ensure people can easily make a record when they visit. 

If you are the person in charge of a business, location or event, you legally must make sure you have safe and secure systems and processes in place so that everyone working on or visiting your premises can scan in or provide their details in an electronic or paper-based manual process, no matter how long they are there for. This includes workers, contractors, customers, and volunteers. 

You legally must have more than one way for people to record their visit, especially for people who are not able to scan QR codes.

Your system for recording customers and visitors can include: 

  • asking people to scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer app
  • recording your customers' and visitors' details manually
  • providing paper forms for customers and visitors to fill in with their details and place in a collection box 
  • using your existing record-keeping systems, such as swipe-card access or appointment bookings.

You still need to continue displaying your QR code poster even if you are not required to collect customer records.

Business.govt.nz has guidance on record keeping.

business.govt.nz

 

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