Covid vaccination to become mandatory for Western Australian ‘at risk’ port workers

  • New directions make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for WA’s port workers who board or work with exposed vessels
  • Pop-up vaccination clinic at Fremantle Port to be held on September 30
  • October 15 deadline for first vaccination dose
  • Strengthened measure to further protect WA and keep the community safe  
  • It will soon be mandatory for Western Australian port workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can access and undertake some roles on an ‘exposed’ vessel.

    The new Exposed Port Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions address the risks posed by exposed vessels. These are subject to the Exposed On-Board Worker Directions (No. 2).

    About 12,000 vessels visit WA ports each year.

    The Directions apply to all commercial ports in Western Australia and include anyone who has contact with an exposed vessel. Implementation will be a staged approach to limit the potential impact on port activities.

    From 12.01am, October 15, port workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access an exposed vessel, carry out a service in connection with an exposed vessel or interact with crew. These workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 12.01am, November 12.

    WA Health will conduct a pop-up vaccination clinic at Fremantle Port on September 30 to make it easier for workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As part of the initial 1A cohort, port workers have had priority access to vaccinations since February 22, 2021.

    Nothing in the Directions prevents unvaccinated port workers from embarking or performing work on an unexposed vessel or coming into close contact with people from an unexposed vessel.

    It will be the responsibility of the employer to collect and maintain records of vaccinated workers.

    The Exposed Port Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions provide exemptions for unvaccinated police and emergency workers, as well as statutory officers performing their duties from entering an exposed vessel.

    As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:

    “Shipping provides Western Australians with vital imports, as well as ensuring our highly lucrative exports are carried across the globe.

    “But these vessels also bring with them the risk of importing COVID-19 into our community.

    “We need to be ever-vigilant and continue our best efforts to keep the virus out.

    “This is why it has been decided that port workers who interact with exposed vessels must now be vaccinated.

    “They are on the frontline, up and down our coast, and we need to keep them and our community safe.”

    As stated by Ports Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “WA has 22 port facilities overseen by five port authorities and the Department of Transport, managing huge numbers of ships, cargo and crew every week.

    “We all know the risk posed by COVID-19 and it is logical we would try to protect anyone on the frontline.

    “This will keep them safe, their families and communities safe, and our ports operating.”

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