On 5 October 2021, the State Government announced that all fly-in-fly-out and local workers on Western Australian mining and resources sites must have their first COVID-19 vaccine by 1 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022. The Resources Industry Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions giving legal effect to that announcement have now been issued.
The Directions reiterate that from 1 January 2022, a person who is a resources industry worker must not enter, or remain at, a rural or remote resources industry site or a remote operating centre if they have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are an exempt person.
Who is a resources industry worker?
A resources industry worker includes the following individuals at a rural or remote resources industry site or remote operating centre:
- employees (including in a voluntary or unpaid capacity);
- contractors and subcontractors;
- persons carrying out ancillary services such as cooks and cleaners;
- apprentices, cadets, trainees, persons on work experience;
- owners, occupiers, operators or persons in charge;
- employees of DMIRS performing a statutory duty; and
What is a rural or remote resources industry site?
A rural or remote resources industry site means premises located outside of the Metropolitan Region, at which one or more of the following activities are carried out:
- mining operation;
- petroleum operation;
- pipeline operation;
- exploration operation;
- geothermal energy operation; and
- ancillary operations.
What is a remote operating centre?
Remote operating centres are set out in Schedule 1 of the Directions and include the operations centre of certain mining companies operating in the Metropolitan Region.
Expectations for employers in the mining and resources industry
Recording vaccination information
Employers in the mining industry (or the owner, occupier, operator or person apparently in charge of a site) must take all reasonable and lawful steps to collect and maintain a record of the vaccination status of each resources industry worker or rig or platform crew member.
It is important that retaining vaccination information is managed in accordance with the Privacy Act. Employers should not use or disclose vaccination information except where provided for under the Directions, as permitted by law or for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with any employer direction restricting entry to a site.
Employers should also take reasonable steps to protect vaccination information from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Rostering employees and restricting entry
Employers must only roster on, or otherwise permit to work on a site, employees who are vaccinated.
As per previous government vaccination directions, there are provisions for exemptions where applicable, such as for approved medical reasons. Exemptions may be granted on a temporary basis.
For advice or assistance with managing exemptions and recording vaccination information, please get in touch.