New Zealand Law Society - FMA release WorkSafe-backed guidelines for Alert Level 3

FMA release WorkSafe-backed guidelines for Alert Level 3

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Financial Services businesses must not see the move from Level 4 to Level 3 as an opportunity to restart workplaces as quickly as possible and in an unsafe fashion, the FMA says.

The Financial Markets Authority has published guidance for the Financial Services sector, supported by WorkSafe, related to physical presence of staff at workplaces during level 3.

If a workplace reopens, it must create a formal plan which details how they are keeping people safe at Level 3 and dealing with COVID related risks.

Businesses do not have to present these plans in order to operate but will be expected to produce it when requested by WorkSafe, who will be conducting checks across New Zealand and all sectors.

The FMA guidelines are as follows:

  • Workplaces must significantly reduce workers numbers on premise with physical distancing (minimum two metres) between all on-site staff
  • Workplaces which interact with other businesses must communicate ahead of time to establish a clear understanding of responsibility and overlap.
  • Workplaces must take practical hygiene steps to avoid the spread of the virus. For example, ensuring only essential work is done; supplying soap and water or hand sanitiser to ensure workers can frequently wash their hands; splitting meal breaks to reduce the number of people using a kitchen; ensuring only one worker at a time in bathroom
  • Workplaces must hold centralised records of any workers working together
  • Workplaces must take centralised contact tracing measures (ie sign-in and sign-out procedures for customers and staff, recording interactions and floor access)
  • Workplaces must enact controlled entry procedures (ie security guards at the entrance, appointment only, pre-screening remotely) to manage customer numbers
  • Workers are not to attend workplace if they have any symptoms of feeling unwell or are being tested for COVID-19
  • Workers are not to attend workplace if they have been in close contact with anyone who is displaying respiratory symptoms, being tested for COVID-19, or has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  • Workers are not to attend workplace if they, or someone they come into close contact with, are considered ‘higher risk’ of becoming severely ill from COVID 19 (Ministry of Health - most at risk)
  • Interaction with customers should be via remote means wherever possible. Face to face customer interaction continue to be permitted only for essential financial services (as at Alert Level 4). Within this category, the following guidance applies:
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) transactions to be completed at distances of over one metre and only if increased hygiene in these areas can be ensured (ie hand sanitiser, Perspex screens, increased cleaning etc.).
  • For transactions which require face-to-face engagement but cannot take place OTC – we expect these to only be completed when equivalent safety precautions as OTC transactions can be followed
  • Businesses are obliged to eliminate transmission risks where possible, and where not, to substitute work practices or provide as higher level of control as possible. We expect that businesses maintain, or create new, practices that meet or exceed the Ministry of Health guidelines as they are updated.

WorkSafe has also advised this information is of a general nature only, and accepts no liability or responsibility to those for any direct or indirect losses arising from the use of the guidelines.