New public health directions from the Western Australian Government require FIFO and other resources sector workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. From 1 December 2021, impacted workers will need to have had their first does of a COVID-19 vaccine to access their workplace and by 1 January 2022, these workers must be fully vaccinated.
The direction is similar to other Government mandates seen in industries such as ports, transport, freight and logistics, healthcare and aged care. As with other mandatory vaccination directions, there are exemptions for approved medical reasons.
Who does the direction apply to?
As of 7 October 2021, the mandate applies to:
- any FIFO worker in Western Australia in mining, oil and gas and exploration;
- resource sector employees who work at remote and regional mine sites; and
- visitors to these operations.
141,000 resources sector workers in Western Australia will be affected by the direction.
The direction is in response to the risks posed by movement of resources sector workers. These workers often travel to and from regional Western Australia, with many sites located near remote Aboriginal communities. These sectors are also the largest employer of Aboriginal people in the regions. Government organisation ‘Health Direct’ has indicated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities are at a higher risk of serious infection from COVID-19 because it can be harder to access healthcare and there are higher rates of other health conditions in these communities.
Employers within the affected sectors will be responsible for collecting and maintaining the vaccination records of their employees. Prior to December 1, it is recommended that employers reconsider their vaccination policies, and ensure that all employees are aware of their obligations under the direction. Employers will need to consider their course of action for employees who refuse to get the vaccination, besides from when there is a legitimate medical exemption.
If you require assistance in relation to any of the information provided above, Pragma’s specialist employment lawyers can provide advice to you and your business to minimise your risk. Contact us today by emailing us or call us on (08) 6188 3340.