WorkSafe Investigates Cedar Meats COVID-19 Outbreak
WorkSafe Victoria has launched an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak at a meat processing facility in Melbourne's west, which has so far been linked to 88 cases of the virus.
A spokesman for WorkSafe confirmed to 10 daily the watchdog had launched an investigation on Wednesday.
"WorkSafe is working with DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to develop appropriate industry guidance for managing and controlling coronavirus in the workplace and is also working with DHHS to manage incidents of COVID-19 where they occur in a workplace," the spokesman said.
10 daily understands the probe will investigate a number of different factors related to the practices inside the Cedar Meats abattoir in Brooklyn.
These include ensuring social distancing measures and avoiding the sharing of work tools and equipment, as well as whether workers were provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and hand sanitiser.
It's understood initial inspections generally also include workplace assessments on COVID-19 preparedness and whether its in line with advice from health authorities.
The outbreak at the facility is the largest cluster outbreak in the state which on Wednesday recorded an additional seven cases, bringing the total in Victoria to 1514.
The state government and Cedar Meats' management have defended their handling of the outbreak, including the decision to allow staff to work for several days after workers tested positive.
In a statement on Wednesday, the state's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the health department continues to work closely with the company.
Cedar Meats had earlier agreed to close its facility for 14 days as a precaution, while contact tracing, widespread testing and precautionary cleaning could take place.
Coronavirus restrictions began easing in the state from Wednesday, with Victorians allowed to have up to five guests at their homes and up to 10 people allowed to gather outdoors for exercise or recreation.
"We have to use our common sense. We have to be proportionate and recognise that this is far from over," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference on Monday announcing the restriction changes.
"This is not an invitation to be out visiting family and friends every lunch and every dinner, every day of May. That wouldn't be smart."