Rapid Antigen Testing in the Workplace
The Government announced this week that it is has secured an additional 36 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). Officials still have yet to announce which businesses will get critical status and how that will work regarding access to RATs. NZPPI is asking that priority sectors, like seedlings for food production and critical activities for plant production, will be prioritised.
In the meantime, there are key steps plant production managers can take to ensure their businesses are set up for RATs and for high numbers of Omicron in their community.
- Have a work plan for how RATs will be used in case of a positive case within the business or in a close contact of an employee. Ensure staff are aware of how this plan will work.
- Ensure that work-station bubbles are kept stringent so if one person tests positive for Omicron it is very clear who are the business close contacts and therefore who needs a RAT.
- Encourage / incentivise staff to get boosted as it is clear that boosters reduce the need for ICU care.
- Be extra vigilant around physical distancing, mask wearing, sanitation and scanning. New rules around mask wearing come into effect tonight (11.59pm Feb 3).
- Consider how businesss will operate with greatly reduced staff numbers ie what activities need to be prioritised to protect plant health.
Here is a detailed article on employers’ legal duties to keep staff safe from Omicron at work. Business NZ also has some useful information about Omicron and business’ response.
As always, NZPPI is working closely with MPI to get the latest information and to ensure officials are aware of the need to protect the health of plants during this critical time. We will update you on any developments.