Does the seafood industry have ‘critical workers’ under new WA COVID rules?

In the fast-moving COVID environment it’s been hard to get a clear and straight answer about the status of workers, vaccination requirements and COVID definitions, but at least we seem to have a definition of what is a critical worker.

Critical workers will be those who can’t work from home and perform a role that is necessary for the safe continuation of services and/or has specialist skills including in agriculture for the purpose of food supply.’

The detailed list of businesses in this category includes farming activities and other operations relating to agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation, permaculture, apiculture, grains, fibre production, dairy, commercial fishing, aquaculture and livestock’ and ‘food including meat and seafood processing’.

Businesses will have to register any critical workers among their employees in an online system the WA Government is still developing.

Under this model critical workers will be able to keep working, even if they’re a close contact.

However, critical workers will be required to follow the new testing and isolating protocols if they are a close contact:

  • If symptomatic, follow symptomatic close contact rules;
  • If asymptomatic, and you are required to work for continuity of operations, you must have a negative RAT daily;
  • When working you must work with a surgical mask, use other PPE where possible, and if possible travel alone;
  • When outside of work, you must self-isolate;
  • If a RAT is positive, you must self-isolate for 7 days; and
  • If symptoms ever develop, you must follow symptomatic close contact rules.

However, workers will need to return a negative COVID test, wear a mask and isolate when they’re not working.

If the worker develops symptoms, they must go into isolation and follow the same rules listed above.

Full details can be found here.