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Workplaces must be COVID safe as overseas help arrives

With the horticulture industry in Queensland suffering from a lack of workers, the State Government is moving to allow workers to come from the Pacific Islands to address the shortage.

These workers are from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Tonga and are often required to quarantine in farm accommodation isolated from others to meet COVID-19 requirements. The PCBU, supervisor and labour hire provider must provide induction and training for these workers in their first language – which is not usually English. If information, training and instruction is given in English and they don’t understand it, the PCBU’s obligations under WHS laws are not being met. PCBUs should:

  • provide documents translated into the first language of the worker
  • use slide presentations and video with subtitles
  • use supervisors who speak and understand both English and the workers first language
  • conduct demonstrations
  • have a short quiz at the end of the induction to ensure workers have read and understood what was provided to them.

Consultation, co-operation and co-ordination between PCBUs and labour hire providers is imperative to ensure information needed to work safely is provided to and understood by workers.

If seasonal workers are being provided on farm accommodation, there are also standards and requirements to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these workers.

Specifically, when if the PCBU provides on farm accommodation for workers and no other accommodation is reasonably available, the PCBU must maintain the premises so that the worker occupying the premises is not exposed to risks to health and safety.

Download the Minimum Accommodation Requirements Checklist (