With the increasing cases of COVID-19 in our Correctional Centres in Queensland, your delegates have been advocating strongly for staff safety and important control measures to keep you safe at work.
Last week, Together wrote to Commissioner Paul Stewart in regards to serious concerns under the Work Health Safety act – you can view the correspondence here!
As a result of our dispute, Delegates have sought immediate implementation of the following:
- N95/P2 masks to be issued and used by all officers in the COVID-positive units. Currently multiple centres are only wearing blue surgical masks when in COVID-positive units.
- A cleaning regime and evidence that a direction has been sent to all centres to clean and sanitize COVID positive areas (where an officer has tested positive, COVID units, walk ways, after escorting a COVID positive or close contact prisoner, biometric finger scanner, gate house etc.)
- Isolated COVID rosters, where staff have been fit tested, not fit checked
- Audit of vulnerable workers, to ensure they are not rostered to work in COVID positive units/areas
- Direction sent to all General Managers that they are to follow central Queensland Health advice and QCS policy. This should not be overruled by a local Nurse Unit Manager or Director of Nursing.
- Prisoners wearing masks within the unit, not just when leaving the unit.
- Statewide policies which are clear and direct, which every centre follows, for example the current Operation Plan for COVID-19. We seek immediate update and dissemination in relation to health advice. Any operational changes to this plan must be in consultation with our members.
- Regular consultation meetings with Delegates at each centre.
Delegates across the state have held meetings this week to move motions to support the above control measures and ensure that members in Correctional facilities are safe at work.
Well done to all members and Delegates for their ongoing work with these matters!
Your safety at work is vital and it is important that all members know their rights when working with COVID-19 positive prisoners.
Members are also reporting incorrect payment of wages as a result of being COVID positive or being a close contact. Here are some Queensland Corrective Services FAQs. It is important that you read and see which scenario applies to you! If you are being denied access to appropriate leave and entitlements, contact your local delegates or call your union office on 1800 177 244.