Frontline workers in the food handling, retail, and transport and logistics industries will have free or low-fee access to four national infection control skill sets, the Australian Government has announced. An $80 million infection control training fund has been established by the federal government, with state and territory governments, to fast-track customer-facing business training support nationwide. Under the scheme, around 80,000 workers will have free or low-fee access to training previously only widely available in the health sector.
“Facing a critical need to keep Australians safe during the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Government has taken urgent action to provide nationally accredited training to ensure customer-facing workplaces can reopen safely and as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson from the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) said. “Working with states and territories, Safe Work Australia and health officials, short courses on infection control have been developed specifically for the food and beverage, retail and transport and logistics sectors.”
The four national infection control skill sets are endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments Skills Council and mark the first national training products developed by the new Australian Industry and Skills Emergency Response Sub-Committee in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Access to the skill sets “will support businesses to train up to 80,000 workers in how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread and help them to reopen safely”, the DESE spokesperson said.
Training is optional, with businesses and workers having the choice about whether to participate, depending on their circumstances. Skills that participants in the training will learn include: appropriate protocols and responses in the event of an incident; effective surface cleaning; disposal of contaminated waste; hand hygiene practices; hazard identification, control and reporting; knowledge regarding the basis of infection and transmission; and use of personal protective equipment.
“The short courses will provide workers with the skills they need to work safely and minimise the risk and transmission of infection while carrying out their duties,” the DESE spokesperson said. “Training will include standard precautions for infection protection and control in a range of settings, including hand-washing, cleaning, use of personal protective equipment, waste disposal, and also how to identify infection hazards and assess and manage risk.
“Trained workers will help to inspire confidence in their customers while also helping to minimise the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus as Australia reopens businesses and rebuilds the workforce,” the DESE spokesperson concluded. Registered training organisations that offer skills tests will be able to start delivering the training as soon as they have put appropriate arrangements in place.
For the latest information on Australia’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, visit www.australia.gov.au.
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