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Ports of entry (airports and maritime) sector guidance

Sector guidance for airports and maritime ports within Victoria.

Victoria to further relax COVIDSafe Settings

The Victorian Government has announced a further easing of COVIDSafe settings from 11.59pm Friday 9 April.

For more information, see the statement from the Minister for Health.

 

Industry Restart Guidelines

Last updated: 1 April 2021

Safety and testing information for maritime ports

Port Specific Information

Safety and testing information for airports

Last updated: 22 April 2021

Last updated: 22 April 2021

Last updated: 22 April 2021

Case and contact management of international air crew

Last updated: 8 April 2021

Testing information and FAQs for airport workers

Frequently asked questions

Updated: 24 March 2021

What restrictions apply to ports of entry (airports and maritime ports)?

Employers at ports of entry should be aware of three sets of restrictions. 

  1. General restrictions 
    General restrictions apply to all Victorian workplaces and address matters including good hygiene, density and capacity limits, record keeping, and basic cleaning. Some of these restrictions, such as those relating to capacity, vary by setting. 

    Restrictions in this category are contained in the Workplace Directions, the Restricted Activity Directions, and the Stay Safe Directions

  2. Port of entry worker restrictions
    These restrictions apply to ‘port of entry workers’ only. ‘Port of entry worker’ has a specific legal meaning (see below ) relating to contact with international passengers, crew and parts of the port of entry environment. As a result, not every worker at an airport or maritime port is classified as a ‘port of entry worker’.

    Employers of ‘port of entry workers’ must follow special restrictions contained in the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions. These rules relate to temperature testing, workplace bubbles, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID Marshals and pre-shift declarations for workers, among other matters. The general restrictions and ‘port of entry worker’ restrictions are summarised in the Industry Guidelines: Ports of Entry (Airports and Maritime)

  3. Workplace testing
    Port of entry workers are included in the Surveillance Testing Industry List issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) and must undergo testing for COVID-19. The list contains information about how frequently testing must occur. Most people who fit the definition of ‘port of entry worker’ are included in the workplace testing program, however the workplace testing program also covers workers who are not ‘port of entry workers’. 

What are my obligations as a manager or employer at a port of entry workplace?

Employers of port of entry workers are responsible for ensuring that their workers and workplace operations adhere to current COVIDSafe requirements and industry obligations.

This includes general requirements to create a COVIDSafe workplace that apply to all Victorian workplaces, alongside the specific obligations listed within the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions and the Surveillance Testing Industry List.

For further information see, Industry Guidelines: Ports of Entry (Airports and Maritime).

Port of entry workers

Who is defined as a ‘port of entry worker’? 

A ‘port of entry worker’ is any airport or maritime port worker who has direct contact with international passengers or crew (excluding international passengers and crew entering Victoria from a Green Zone Country) at an international port of entry, including occasional contact or interactions. However, workers who work in the departures area of an airport are not ‘port of entry workers’.

A port of entry worker is also a worker who interacts with the environment within the international port of entry where international passengers and crew are or have been (excluding international passengers and crew entering Victoria from a Green Zone Country), which includes any worker or person who boards a vessel, ship or aircraft. 

An assessment tool for determining whether a person is a port of entry worker under the Directions can be found within the Industry Guidelines: Ports of Entry (Airports and Maritime).

When determining which of my workers are ‘port of entry workers’, what does ‘the environment’ within international ports of entry mean?

The ‘environment’ refers to items communal facilities (for example, toilets, waiting areas and seating) that are used by international arrivals or entry into a vessel, ship or aircraft. If a worker handles these items or uses these spaces, they are considered a ‘port of entry worker’.

If a worker only works at the check-in counter for outgoing international passengers and crew, are they a port of entry worker?

No, workers who work in the departures area of an airport are not ‘port of entry workers’.  

An assessment tool for determining whether a person is a port of entry worker can be found within the Industry Guidelines: Ports of Entry (Airports and Maritime).

Can ‘port of entry workers’ interact with staff who are not port of entry workers?

‘Port of entry workers’ should not interact with other types of workers unless the interaction cannot be avoided.

Employers must establish workplace bubbles for ‘port of entry workers’ unless it is not reasonably practical to do so, or the worker is exempt from workplace bubbles requirements. 

The ‘port of entry workers’ exempt from workplace bubble arrangements are: 

  • administrative support workers
  • truck drivers
  • tugboat crew
  • stevedores
  • office workers at freight terminals 
  • airport baggage and cargo handlers
  • aircraft engineers.

I am a baggage and cargo handler who only works at domestic terminals. Am I a ‘port of entry worker’?

If a baggage and cargo handler only works at a domestic terminal and does not have contact with international crew or passengers or the environment they pass through, they do not meet the definition of a ‘port of entry worker’. 

Employers should minimise or eliminate ways in which workers at domestic terminals may potentially interact with the environment that international passengers and crew pass through. 

Workplace testing

Which workers need to participate in workplace testing?

Any worker included on the Surveillance Testing Industry List published by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) must participate in the surveillance testing program. The list includes some workers who are not classified as ‘port of entry workers’. 

Which workers are classified as High Risk and Moderate Risk for workplace testing?

The Surveillance Testing Industry List classifies workers based on risk to determine how often a worker must be tested. If there is ambiguity about where a worker fits, employers should use their judgement, but err on the side of including workers in the higher rather than lower risk categories. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Do Border Force Officers who interact with international passenger arrivals, but only from behind a Perspex screen, need to wear PPE?

A worker who is working behind an enclosed protective barrier (for example a Perspex box at an immigration counter) is not required to wear PPE. However, a face mask covering the nose and mouth must be worn (unless you have a lawful reason not to) and workers must ensure that good hand hygiene is practiced. For information on hand hygiene practices, see Hygiene and physical distancing

What are the face mask and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for port of entry workers who board planes?

For workers who board a plane as part of their duties (for example, engineers or cleaning and food service workers), the requirements depend on whether the plane is empty or has passengers or crew aboard. 

Where passengers and/or crew remain on the plane, workers must wear Tier 3 PPE (including N95 respirators, disposable gloves, gowns, and eye protection).

If it has been more than 30 minutes since the plane was emptied and cleaned, workers are only required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth in line with current face mask restrictions.  

Where it has been less than 30 minutes since the plane was emptied and not yet cleaned, in addition to adhering to face mask restrictions, it is recommended that workers wear a gown, and eye protection to avoid potential contamination of clothes and eyes.

Do workers need to be clean-shaven if required to wear an N95 respirator?

Yes, workers wearing an N95 respirator need to be clean-shaven to achieve a safe fit of the respirator. A face shield may be worn in addition to the N95 respirator to provide eye protection (it will not provide respiratory protection), but it does not replace the need to wear the respirator or the need to be clean-shaven.

How can baggage or cargo handlers working with international luggage reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission?

Workers who may handle potentially contaminated materials should ensure that they:

  • adhere to current face mask and PPE requirements 
  • always practice good hand hygiene 
  • maintain at least 1.5 metres from others where possible
  • regularly clean and disinfect equipment and high-touch areas (example scanners, two-way radios, and transport vehicles)
  • know and follow their workplace’s COVIDSafe Plan
  • stay home if unwell and get tested for COVID-19 (stay home and self-isolate until a negative test result is received). 

After a shift ends, workers should change out of their work clothes while at work (if possible) and place their uniforms in a plastic bag. Work clothing should be washed at the highest temperature that the fabric can tolerate, then air or tumble-dried.

What PPE should bus drivers wear when transporting ‘port of entry workers’ (for example, to and from car parks)?

At a minimum, bus drivers transporting port of entry workers should wear a surgical mask covering the nose and mouth and practice hand hygiene. Further information will be provided in the PPE matrix that applies to ports of entry. 

What eye protection should ‘port of entry workers’ wear, if required?

The type of eye protection worn is dependent on a risk assessment based on the activity workers are performing, industry requirements and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE).

However, regular eye-glasses are not be considered a form of eye protection when in contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. A face shield, goggles or safety glasses should be worn in addition to these.  

It is recommended that aircraft operators conduct a deep clean of the aircraft to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. 

For information on how to conduct a deep clean, access the Cleaning Guidelines – COVID-19 Deep Clean Factsheet available at: Preventing infection in the workplace.

Further information on cleaning procedures is available at: Advice on managing the health risks from COVID-19 on international flights.

What are the recommended cleaning procedures for international ports of entry areas?

In addition to the normal cleaning program, a cleaning schedule should be developed that ensures all high touch surfaces in communal areas are cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily, and after international arrivals.

A COVID-19 deep clean would be required if a staff member confirmed to have COVID-19 were to be present at the port of entry during their infectious period. In this instance, a risk assessment would be performed, and high touch surfaces would be cleaned in the identified areas (in addition to areas already disinfected at least twice daily). 

Compliance

Who ensures workers comply with industry restrictions and directions at ports of entry workplaces?

The owner or operator who controls the premises is responsible for ensuring compliance at their worksite.

For shared spaces at a port of entry (for example, concourses and open spaces in terminals) the port operator is responsible. Where the space is not shared (for example, an airport lounge), the manager who operates that specific space is responsible. 

However, employers whose workers work in a port of entry may have separate obligations under Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws to manage risks to their workers. 

Reviewed 22 April 2021

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