Safety Supervisors & Contact Tracing
Chief Health Officer Directions came into effect on 30 November 2020 requiring businesses and organisations to comply with, and review their COVID-19 Safety Plan every six months, appoint a COVID Safety Supervisor to implement their plan and collect customer contact details via the Territory check-in app or other suitable collection tool.
Read about the CHO Directions.
COVID – Safety, Supervisors and Safety Check
Collection of customer contact details
The Chief Health Officer Directions require the businesses and organisations listed below, to collect the contact details of persons attending their premises:
- An Agency of the Northern Territory Government
- Schools, universities and educational institutions
- A child care facility or indoor play centre
- A hospital
- Health premises including medical clinics, dentists, optometrists, pharmacies, physiotherapy clinics
- Disability residential facilities
- A prison, correctional centre, or youth detention centre or other place of custody or detention
- A hotel, motel, hostel or shelter
- Restaurants, bars, cafes and businesses that sell food or beverages to the public for consumption on its premises or in an area adjacent to its premises.
- Cinemas, theatre, concert hall, nightclub or any other designated entertainment venue
- Designated Entertainment venues including video game arcade, a ten pin bowling centre, a children’s entertainment venue, a trampoline centre, an escape room, amusement park or a flight simulator
- Beauty therapists, hairdressers, tattoo and nail parlours
- Tourism operators including boat and bus tours
- Places that provide yoga, pilates, massages or wellness services
- Gymnasium, indoor community centre
- Public swimming pool or bathhouse
- Art galleries, libraries, community organisations
- Religious worship places
- TABs and the like
- Strip club and any place that sells admission to or provides services involving participation in sexual activity.
Information required to be collected includes:
- A contact number, email address, address or any other means to be able to contact the member of the public
- Date and time of entry into the business.
Members of the public are required to provide their contact information every time they enter the premises if they are there for more than 15 minutes.
One family member can provide their details on behalf of their family group in a restaurant or café setting.
In the case of a group of children, one accompanying adult can provide the adult’s contact information on behalf of the group.
Some customers may not be able to provide contact details, due to their circumstances. In these cases the business should take the person’s name and the best way to find them, in the event that there is an outbreak linked to the business.
For example, a person with no phone could provide their name and the phone number of a friend or relative. A person experiencing homelessness, could provide the place where they can be found.
Businesses have the right, as always, to refuse entry or to ask customers to leave. If a business feels that a customer is not taking the CHO Direction seriously they may take this step. Police may be able to provide assistance if the circumstances require it.
Customer contact details must be recorded and kept securely for 28 days after which all information must be destroyed using appropriate processes.
A business must provide contact details to an authorised officer if directed. Information collected is for compliance with the CHO Direction and must not be used for any other purpose than contact tracing.
Venues that already record the required visitor information do not need to implement a new system or change their current system.
How to collect contact details
The method used to record customer contact details is to the business owner to decide, provided all the requirements can be met.
Businesses are strongly encouraged to use electronic methods such as a QR Code, as this provides a secure, contactless and hygienic way of collecting details.If any customers are unable to use a QR Code, businesses should have an alternative check in method available, such as a paper-based template or manual check in with a staff member.
If a business needs to keep a written list for the purpose of compliance with the CHO Direction, it is important that this information is recorded, stored and destroyed after 28 days in a secure and appropriate way.
Venues that already record the required visitor information do not need to implement a new system or change their current system.
The Territory Check In app
The Northern Territory Government is introducing The Territory Check In app to make it easy for businesses, organisations and venues to comply with the CHO Directions by enabling customers to self-check-in.
The Territory Check In app provides a contactless, secure and easy way for customers and visitors to sign and have their data stored securely by NT Health so contact tracing can be quickly undertaken if required.
To get businesses started, NT Health emailed all businesses and organisations with a COVID-19 Safety Plan their own QR Code Poster for use at the premises.
Businesses and organisations that did not receive an email with a QR Code or have multiple venues, can register to use The Territory Check In app by completing an online form. Once the form is completed, businesses should receive an email with a QR Code poster specific to their venue location within 48 hours.
Complete the online form to register a business or organisation.
Businesses and venues using the app don’t need to manually collect customer information and won’t need to store that information.
The Territory Check In app is available from the Google Play Store and will be available from the Apple App Store in the coming days. Apple is currently experiencing delays due to high demand and a backlog of requests over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Businesses are encouraged to also have an alternative check in method available, such as a paper-based template or manual check in with a staff member, for customers unable to use a QR Code.
The Territory Check In app has been built by ACT Health and is the same app that is being used in the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.
Businesses already collecting customer information
Many businesses across the NT already collect customer details, such as gyms, tourism operators, medical clinics, schools and child care centres and hairdressers.
Businesses, organisations and venues that already record the required visitor information do not need to implement a new system or change their current system.
Why contact details need to be collected
The Territory is one of the safest places in the country, and we intend to keep it that way as Australia enters into a new phase of the pandemic.
The new CHO Directions are about strengthening our resilience as Territorians start to travel more over the wet season and visit family and friends over the Christmas period. Taking these extra steps are important to protect the health of our community.
Collecting contact details is critical to make sure our health teams can quickly act and undertake contact tracing if required.
Businesses must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to demonstrate how they meet the CHO Directions about the key principles of physical distancing and hygiene practices.
A COVID-19 Safety Plan checklist must be completed and submitted online. The checklist forms the businesses COVID-19 Safety Plan.
The new CHO Directions requires businesses to review their COVID-19 Safety Plans at least every six months to make sure they continue to address any required safety responsibilities. To do this, businesses will need to resubmit the online checklist by the end of May 2021.
Businesses, organisations and community groups can complete and submit the COVID-19 Safety Plan checklist online.
The COVID-19 Safety Plan must be available to show to an authorised officer upon request.
Businesses must comply with their COVID-19 Safety Plan.
The CHO Directions require that the ‘person in authority’ of most places, businesses, activities, services or premises must appoint a COVID Safety Supervisor to facilitate the implementation of their businesses COVID-19 Safety Plan and other relevant CHO Directions.
Depending on the complexity, risk and operational hours of a business it may be appropriate to appoint more than one COVID Safety Supervisor to enable the effective implementation of the COVID-19 Safety Plan. For example, a hospitality business that operates as a restaurant/café during the day and a nightclub/bar at night is recommended to appoint a day and night COVID Safety Supervisor.
Businesses that have offices in different locations should also consider whether they need site specific COVID Safety Supervisors.
Who can be a COVID Safety Supervisor?
The COVID Safety Supervisor can be a ‘person in authority’, or another person that the ‘person in authority’ appoints such as a work health and safety officer or a first aid officer.
The COVID Safety Supervisor must have the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake their duties. Skills and knowledge may be acquired in a range of ways including but not limited to:
- ‘In house’ training
- Relevant professional experience
- Completing the Northern Territory Government’s free COVID Safety Supervisor training or the Australian Government infection control training.
The COVID Safety Supervisor must be able to provide evidence of their skills and knowledge upon the request of an authorised officer. The evidence can be given to the authorised officer either orally or in writing.
The Northern Territory COVID Safety Supervisor online training is currently being finalised and will be available to businesses shortly. A powerpoint version is available in the interim.
Role of COVID Safety Supervisors
COVID Safety Supervisors play an important role in communicating with staff and customers about any relevant measures that assist with minimising the spread of COVID-19, changes to restrictions and the individual business's policies and safety plans involving COVID-19.
The role of the COVID Safety Supervisor is to implement the COVID-19 Safety Plan.
A person appointed to the role of COVID Safety Supervisor should:
- Supervise and guide staff in COVID-19 safety principles.
- Assist in increasing customer knowledge about the venue's policies and procedures consistent with the COVID-19 safety principles.
- Remind customers of their obligations to adhere to the COVID-19 safety principles including physical distancing where possible.
- Assist in identifying and eliminating potential hazards or non-compliance within a venue.
- Ensure the business COVID-19 Safety Plan is reviewed every six months and remains fit for purpose.
COVID Safety Supervisors should ensure all staff are familiar with the business's COVID-19 Safety Plan. Staff should have a clear understanding of the COVID-19 safety principles including hygiene, cleaning and sanitising, physical distancing, and staying at home and away from work if feeling unwell and getting tested.
COVID Safety Supervisors should communicate with staff about their safety responsibilities in daily shift briefings, staff communication boards, signage, social media groups, intranet, etc. The Safe Work Australia website provides guidance on how businesses can manage risks arising from COVID-19.
The NT Health team and the Territory’s Small Business Champions will continue to work with local businesses, organisations and venues to make sure they have a system in place that works best for them.
Environmental Health Officers, Public Health Officers and NT Police may undertake compliance checks across the NT to ensure businesses have a COVID Safety Supervisor and are complying with their COVID-19 Safety Plan.
Managing a COVID Safe Workplace
The COVID Safety Supervisor should identify, document and address issues in the workplace that may pose a risk in relation to COVID-19 safety.
Staff, contractors and customers must have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser. Supplies of soap, paper towel and hand sanitiser need to be regularly checked and replaced as soon as they run out.
Businesses should remind customers that if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they feel unwell, that they should stay at home and get tested and not attend the venue. This information can be provided in many different ways such as on the business website, signage at the venue or in booking confirmation emails.
Symptoms can include fever, cough, scratchy throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell, loss of taste, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and diarrhoea.
COVID Safety Supervisors should assist staff and customers to follow physical distancing guidelines where possible. This includes making sure the layout of the venue allows for physical distancing and that there are clear markings and signage in place to guide people where to stand.
Particular attention should be given to areas where crowding could occur such as entry to a venue, queuing to order meals or at bar areas, toilet areas and designated smoking areas.
Maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres between ourselves and others, particularly people who are not part of our household or close family contacts, is encouraged. Close face-to-face contact should be minimised and if unavoidable should be limited to 15 minutes or less.
It is important businesses, organisations and venues have signage and posters in place to remind staff and customers about the risks of COVID-19 and the safety measures required to stop its spread.
The CHO Directions require businesses, organisations and venues to display signage on:
- Hand washing and hand hygiene
- Physical distancing
- Staying home if unwell
- Getting tested if experiencing symptoms
- Downloading the COVIDSafe app.
COVID Safety Supervisors should regularly check the venue to make sure that signage remains in place and is visible to the public. To be effective signage needs to attract the attention of people and motivate them to take action.
A range of posters and resources are available for download.
Cleaning and disinfecting
A combination of cleaning and disinfecting is the most effective in combating and removing any traces of the COVID-19 virus. Cleaning reduces the grime load on a surface and allows the disinfectant to take effect and kill the COVID-19 virus. A disinfectant may not kill the virus if the surface has not been cleaned with a detergent first.
The COVID Safety Supervisor should ensure that high touch surfaces are identified and regularly cleaned and disinfected. It is important that businesses, organisations and venues have procedures in place to ensure high levels of cleanliness are maintained.
The behaviour of individuals to apply high levels of personal hygiene and physical distancing where possible, remains our greatest defence against COVID-19.
The risk of COVID-19 in our communities cannot be eliminated which is why it is important for everyone to follow all health directions.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not travel. Make sure you get tested and stay at home.
- Maintain a physical distance of 1.5m at all times.
- Wash your hands with soap and water and use hand sanitiser regularly.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Put your tissue in the bin straight away.
- Do not go to work if you feel sick.
- If you have symptoms, stay away from others and call a doctor or the NT COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 008 002.
For more information:
- Download the CHO Direction Business Information Pack
- Contact Environmental Health COVID-19 Compliance on 1800 095 646.
- visit the Safe Work Australia – COVID-19 information for workplaces website.
- visit the Coronavirus.nt.gov.au website.
- visit the Australian Government health alerts website.