The protracted nature of the pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to some mask-wearing complacency. We have all seen workers incorrectly wearing facemasks (for example, covering only the mouth, chin, or neck) or not wearing one at all.   

As a part of our industry reopening, the Victorian Government clarified its expectations on COVIDSafe guidelines, including mask-wearing.  

Our industry was recently put on notice that in the event of shortcomings in such practices, its privileged position may (again) be taken away and our industry may be shut down. This is not a measure that anyone wants to see.  

To counteract any complacency around mask-wearing, we recommend that members take a proactive approach in communicating expectations to employees. Such communication can explore the importance of facemasks and them being an important (and simple) control measure to ensure our industry remains open.  

The following action steps could form part of a proactive approach to reinforcing the requirement to wear masks in the workplace:  

  • Discuss mask-wearing expectations at toolbox meetings. 
  • Send a circular to all employees.  
  • Put up signage about mask-wearing requirements. 
  • Actively monitor and encourage compliance on-site.  

Taking multiple steps and periodically reinforcing expectations will further achieve mask-wearing compliance than a set and forget approach. A culture of mask-wearing compliance will also be important - where employees see others following the rules, they are more likely to follow suit.  

While we encourage a proactive approach, if employees do not follow reasonable instructions to wear face masks, it may require further action. This may be in cases where the employee has been provided instructions to wear a facemask, and the failure has been repeated and unreasonable. We encourage any members seeking to take any form of disciplinary action to contact the MBV EIR team on (03) 9411 4555.