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August 09 Edition Cover

Yarra’s Edge site closed for deep cleaning

28 Jul 2020

Yarra’s Edge site closed for deep cleaning Image

By Rhonda Dredge

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases in Melbourne, managers of construction sites are being forced to make some tough decisions and close down sites for deep cleaning.

Yarra’s Edge developer Mirvac confirmed that its Voyager construction site was shut down on Friday, July 13 after the developer was notified about a positive COVID-19 case.

“Work ceased immediately on site and all workers were sent home,” a Mirvac spokesperson told Docklands News.

“Contact tracing was done and any close or casual contacts were notified and requested to undertake testing before returning to site.  A full deep clean was undertaken in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines.”

The closure of the site, believed to be Melbourne’s third since lockdown measures were introduced by the state government in July, has escalated fears among construction workers about health protocols.

A source connected to Mirvac’s Voyager development on South Wharf Drive, who asked not to be named, told Docklands News following the closure that workers were confused about how long they should isolate for after testing.

“People are taking the precautions themselves,” they said. “Do they need to isolate for 14 days? They [the workers] were not told by DHHS.”

A spokeswoman for the CFMEU said that the union had not been notified about the closure of the Mirvac site.

“The CFMEU has put in guidelines that have worked and enabled people to remain at work,” she said.

She said that there had been a couple of COVID-19 cases on building sites and that the union was working well with the DHHS.

“We’ve definitely had two [closures]. They were open within a day. DHHS oversees it.”

A policy on the union website dated July 14 states that anyone who has had casual contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 can continue to work providing they test negative and have no symptoms. Workers can use their sick leave while waiting for results.

The source said that while Mirvac had been upfront about the closure, he was concerned that developers and builders in the industry were trying to keep cases under wraps.

“The health and safety of our employees and any visitors to the site is our top priority,” a spokesperson for Mirvac said.

“Mirvac has received confirmation from DHHS that all necessary steps were completed and that the site had taken extra safe and cautious measures.”

The site was reopened on Tuesday, July 21.

It is understood that one worker at the site had been in contact with a positive case but subsequently tested negative •

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