29/03/2020

COVID-19

Written by John Fairhead

The Government of Western Australia has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19 coronavirus.

Cases of the COVID-19 virus are increasing in Australia and the situation is changing rapidly. You can access the latest information from australia.gov.au.

Apart from a couple documentary projects and some tvc’s, nearly all screen production activity has ceased in WA. A special Screenwest Screen Industry Associations meeting was held on March 18th, for the agency to discuss the situation and receive suggestions to take to the state government in order to mitigate the economic impact on industry stakeholders.

As workers and as employers we have an obligation to minimise harm in the work environment and this includes the transmission of disease. Due to the nature of film sets requiring cast and crew to work in close contact and often in confined environments the risk associated with transmission of a flu like virus in an on-set environment would be considered from medium to extreme depending on whether you are in a COVID-19 high risk category, or come into close contact with someone who is.

Unfortunately as most in the screen industry are employed via the “gig economy” few freelance workers are likely to decline work on the supposition that they may have come into contact with the virus or that they may be symptomatic. As part of our duty of care we should support and promote self quarantine.

If you are approached to work on a production, consider very carefully the potential consequences of accepting the work. It is essential that the Producer / Production company has implemented and can provide their COVID-19 Safety Management Plan (Protocols) that must be in compliance with the latest federal and state government public health measures and Occupational Health and Safety laws.

Although I cannot and will not offer advice as to whether an individual crew member should / should not accept production work, I am happy to be contacted to discuss a situation.L

Further information can be found in the following links;

Department of Health (WA)

https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus

Department of Health (Commonwealth)

https://www.health.gov.au/news

Safe Work Australia

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces

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