Tuesday, 31 March 2020

COVID-19: Health orders & day programs; your right to cease unsafe work

Over the past weeks the union has been advised that participants are still attending day programs.

The union has been in contact with the various disability providers over the previous weeks to discuss the serious and imminent risk that transporting and/or supporting participants to day programs poses to your health and safety. This is due to lack of ability to ensure social distancing or compliance with health orders.

Many providers who have their own day programs have either ceased the programs or ensured those day programs still running comply with health orders and social distancing. None of the providers have assured the union that disability support workers will not have to transport and/or support participants to day programs. However, some providers are encouraging participants to not attend.

The new health orders, which can be viewed HERE, allow no gatherings of more than two people in public, except:

  • for members of the same household
  • where the gathering is essential for work or education.

If you are still helping participants attend day programs, your duties must comply with the public heath order as listed in the dot points above.

The union has concerns these public health orders cannot and will not be met and this poses a serious and imminent risk to your health and safety.

The CPSU NSW advises you that under section 84 of the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011, as a worker you have the right to cease unsafe work if you have a reasonable concern that to carry out the work would expose the worker to a serious and imminent risk to their health or safety, including in relation to the transporting and/or support of participants to day programs.

HERE Is a cease-unsafe-work template that can be signed and sent to your employer, notifying them you will cease the relevant unsafe work practice.

For further advice please contact CPSU NSW representative on 1300 772 679.

Industrial Officers
Sharny Chalmers
Jessica Moore

Tony Hay
Cora Sarmiento
Shane Elliott
Gino Di Candilo