IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19
31 March 2020
helping to stop the spread and stay healthy at help
Protecting the health and wellbeing of our participants, supported employees, job seekers, commercial customers and employees is our top priority as we navigate COVID-19. Every day we take steps to safeguard our operations and minimise risk across our Disability Care, Supported Employment, Commercial, Employment and Training businesses.
Throughout March, HELP has implemented a range of measures:
1. GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
HELP has a COVID-19 Response Team that meets regularly to assess new government and public health directives, review operational matters and make decisions on actions to be taken. The HELP Board reviews these management actions weekly, or more often if required.
2. COMMUNICATING PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY DIRECTIVES
HELP is responding promptly to public health directives issued by the Chief Medical Officer and the Queensland Chief Health Officer. We relate these directives to our operating environment and communicating actions and key messages with posters on display, fact sheets, email bulletins and text messages direct to our stakeholders. We also communicate important changes in person (wherever possible).
Our Managers are vigilant in ensuring that their staff do not come to work if they have been unwell with respiratory symptoms, or are in quarantine or isolation due to recent overseas and domestic travel.
3. ENACTING SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES
HELP has already implemented the following measures:
- Launched remote servicing by phone and online for job seekers, students and employers in our Employment and Training Division;
- Reduced the number of people at our sites on any given day through work from home arrangements for those staff who can work productively from home;
- Educating Participants and Supported Employees on social distancing measures, and opening up spaces where support is provided to adhere to the 1.5m and 2 persons per 4 square metre rule;
- Suspended activities that may expose Participants to risk that we cannot mitigate. For example, we have temporarily halted community access activities for our Disability Care Participants except for essential activities like shopping and medical appointments. We have also suspended horse mounted therapies at the McIntyre Centre due to difficulties of applying social distancing guidelines.
4. ESSENTIAL NEEDS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
As an NDIS Provider, it is our responsibility to ensure our Participants continue to receive essential services through this public health emergency. “Essential” will mean something different for every Participant and family. We are communicating regularly and reaching out to our Participants and families to better understand their essential needs. This will allow HELP to modify and adapt our services in a way that supports each person whilst complying with public health directives.
5. HYGIENE, CLEANING AND INFECTION CONTROL
Our Health and Safety team is leading the drive to keep our workplaces clean and safe. We are all in this together and taking responsibility for keeping everyone safe and healthy. Measures that have been implemented include:
- Making hand sanitiser available in all of our communal areas.
- Ensuring cleaning practices and protocols are in line with Queensland Health guidelines and that we have disinfectant products available.
- Implementing limits on attendance to achieve social distancing at essential meetings and encouraging use of alternative phone and video conferencing options.
- Ensuring we have access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
6. PARTICIPATING IN SECTOR-WIDE FORUMS
HELP is an active participant in stakeholder groups and networks that are contributing to policy and directives during this time. These include Federal Government stakeholder working groups, industry peak bodies such as National Disability Services and National Employment Services Association, and Horse Riding for the Disabled Qld (RDAQ). Our participation means that we can provide direct feedback to these agencies and peak bodies on the practical issues we face as COVID-19 unfolds.
HELP will continue to communicate important and timely COVID-19 updates directly to our stakeholders – employees, job seekers, participants, families and other customers as the need arises.