Department of Health Directions and Police Mission Critical Areas Directions will impact child protection officers entering WA Health facilities and WA Police Mission Critical Areas to undertake certain duties. For information on vaccination requirements for Department officers refer to the entry Vaccinations – Directions for Department officers.
For any matters or actions in your work that relate to the potential transmission or diagnosis of COVID-19 you should:
You must continue to refer to all usual practice guidance contained in Casework Practice Manual entries, except where an item on this page overrides guidance outlined in that entry.
The Department must continue to deliver critical essential services to the community.
To reduce the spread of illness, you should:
During periods of lockdown you should follow all health advice provided and:
For further guidance on staying safe in the workplace please visit the
COVID-19 Response Management site and the
Safe Work Practices and Wellbeing page on The Common.
It's ok to advise clients that you are making alternative arrangements to ensure their health and safety. If possible, arrange for meetings to occur by video or teleconference.
Refer to the Department of Health website for more
information on physical distancing.
During this time of physical distancing and increased use of online communication, the eSafety Commissioner has released tips on how to stay safe and have more positive experiences online, visit COVID-19 esafety Commissioner
If there is a lockdown, or other safety concerns, you may need to cancel face-to-face meetings or visits. In these cases you should:
Advise the client that the meeting or contact has been cancelled due to:
Advise the client that you will contact them to reschedule this meeting and arrange a suitable alternative.
Explain to the client that they can contact the local Child Protection district office by phone if you require support during business hours otherwise the Statewide Referral and Response Service (Crisis Care) after hours on 9223 1111.
Emergency travel during lockdown
If there is an emergency and a child or others need to travel in or out of a region in lockdown, you should consult with the TL. The following situations may constitute an emergency where travel during a lockdown may be authorised:
In these circumstances, you will need to provide a letter to Authorised Officers when crossing travel borders to prove you, or your client, has a genuine need to travel. For a template letter, access the Communities letter for intrastate travel in related resources.
If you are travelling with a client, you will need to present your ID badge. If a client is travelling without a staff member, you should include the following additional information in the letter:
Be aware that an individual travelling during a period of lockdown may need to follow restrictions, as advised by the Authorised Officers.
Line managers should ensure they are providing support for their staff at this time through simple actions such as:
checking in with direct reports regularly
offering empathy and understanding
praising staff for the work they are doing
encouraging staff to access counselling through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and
prioritising the health and wellbeing of staff.
Staff should feel supported to undertake the essential services they deliver, and staff wellbeing should be prioritised and maintained to ensure a stable workforce. Continue to use supervision as a forum to develop case plans and consider how case plans may need to be amended due to COVID-19.
For Department of Communities service providers requiring face masks, please email
email@example.com and provide the following information:
Once the order is processed, the preferred option is to pick it up from Stewart & Heaton Clothing Company, 150 Francisco St, Belmont. However, if this is not possible, the order may be delivered so please make it clear at time of order that this needs to occur.
Whilst they endeavour to have masks available to most service providers within the next 24 hours, please note some delays may be expected.
Visit the Information on Masks page for information on how to access face masks.
For information on COVID-19 PPE Kits available for confirmed cases or if there is a high number of community transmissions, refer to the Personal Protective Equipment - locations and contacts (in related resources).
Guidelines outlining specific, evidence-based advice regarding when to use PPE, which type of PPE to use and how it should be used can be found on the WA Health website.
Community transmission levels in Western Australia and PPE use
All guidelines for PPE use in Western Australia (WA) are based on the most current infection prevention and control advice and are proportionate to the level and extent of community transmission of COVID-19 in WA.
Community transmission is not simply about case numbers; it is determined by the number of cases in which the source of the COVID-19 infection cannot be traced.
The Department of Health assesses the level of COVID-19 community transmission daily and is ready to communicate any adjustment to its health advice as required.
Guidelines for PPE use in community settings
Personal Protective Equipment use as recommended within the setting of a COVID-19 pandemic should be used in addition to routine PPE recommendations.
Workers in contact with people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are showing signs of COVID-19 or who have been directed to self-isolate by a public health professional or WA Police Force should check the latest health guidelines at WA Health website for instructions on what actions to take.
The guidelines for PPE use in community settings have been broken up into two documents:
The latest information and guidelines about PPE and its use can be found on the WA Health website.
What is the best defence against COVID-19
The use of face masks and physical distancing measures and standard precautions such as good hand/cough hygiene are the first lines of defence against COVID-19 in all settings.
The Department of Health recommends that workplaces revise working practices where appropriate to allow for physical distancing and to reduce contact with other people and their possessions.
Department staff are learning to live and work in the 'new normal' of COVID-19 in both frontline and support positions. Staff may have increased concerns regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 while undertaking their work duties.
It is critical that staff understand what should be used for every day, business as usual activities and what should be used for a COVID-19 response where there is a Department of Health mandated requirement. In this way we can ensure staff and client safety and conserve WA valuable stock of PPE to protect our staff and the wider community against COVID-19.
Use of Personal Protective Equipment
Re-used or inadequately cleaned PPE can pose significant risks to both the workers and the community. PPE must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Cloth masks are washable, but if they become damp you must remove it, put on a fresh one and place the used one in a plastic bag for washing at the end of the day.
Continue physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene and avoid touching the font of the mask. Remove it carefully by touching only the straps, to avoid self-contamination. Hand hygiene should be performed after removal of the mask.
For further information on how to make your own cloth mask, visit the Department of Health website.
The Department of Health has released Advice for use of personal protective equipment for workers in community settings (WA Health PPE Advice) which outlines the level of PPE use appropriate for potential or actual COVID-19 events for community service workers. This advice is aligned to the work of Department frontline staff.
The WA Health PPE Advice is a mandatory tool for Department staff when determining what level of PPE is appropriate for a potential or actual COVID-19 situation. It is important to note these guidelines do not provide guidance on what PPE should be used by employees to undertake their day to day roles. This is defined in Department PPE policies and practice directions frameworks.
Use of PPE when there are confirmed cases or high levels of community transmission must be in line with the PPE included in the COVID-19 PPE Kits. See the section 'Ordering face masks and Personal Protective Equipment' for further details.
Table A – WA Health decision tree Table A is an extract from the WA Health PPE Advice indicating what PPE is used for a COVID-19 response in low and high community transmission. Where there is a suspicion of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, staff should seek advice from WA Health through calling the Coronavirus information helpline on 13 COVID (13 268 43).
Table B – WA Health Personal Protective Equipment is an extract from the WA Health PPE Advice providing guidance on when more PPE than normally used in your everyday role, should be used in conjunction with routine infection control measures. Note that masks referred to in this table are surgical masks. Cloth or other types of masks may be required in other settings, according to current health advice.
Table A page 4 Advise for use of personal protective equipment for workers in community settings
Table B page 5 Advice for use of personal protective equipment for workers in community settings
You can also access these tables on page 4 and page 5 in the resource in related resources.
It is important that hand hygiene is observed before PPE is donned, and in-between removal of each piece of PPE.
Extract from WA Health advice PPE Advice for WA Police attending known COVID-19 residents
Current Department policies and procedures/practice directions regarding everyday use of PPE should be followed for PPE usage. The above WA Health PPE Decision Tree does not define everyday usage of PPE.
To determine whether PPE is needed to undertake day to day work, consider:
what PPE you use in your role before COVID-19, and
what is specified in policy or procedure manuals.
Positions that require only routine infection control would be positions with no external client control such as office-based roles in affected areas – these roles should:
regularly wash hands with soap and water
wear a mask where directed by current health advice
use the SafeWA app or the physical contact register at relevant locations
use hand Sanitiser (70-90% alcohol content) - can also be utilised where hand washing facilities are not available, and
use disinfectant wipes to clean down work surfaces.
The positions below may use additional BAU PPE beyond routine infection control when there is a suspected or confirmed case.
24/7 Residential Care Roles – Residential Care workers; Secure Care officers and disability services direct care staff/ secure care staff/ Nurses
Regularly wash hands with soap and water
Hand Sanitiser (70-90% alcohol content) can also be utilised where hand washing facilities are not available
Nitrile latex free gloves (non-powered where available) for cleaning and in the presence of bodily fluids
Wear a mask with at least three layers of cloth that covers both the nose and the mouth
When providing support to a resident that requires close personal care and if necessary:
Aprons - when providing close contact personal care in the presence of bodily fluids
Surgical masks used when providing close contact personal care in the presence of bodily fluids
Child Protection roles including Statewide Referral and Response Service (Crisis Care) and Disability Justice Officers
The Australian Government has developed an online training module for health care providers for all staff working in a residential setting - www.covid-19training.gov.au
Training should also be accessed via your local induction manuals where available.
For further information please refer to:
Department of Health COVID-19 information page
Advice for use of PPE for workers in community settings
Advice for use of PPE for professional first responders
COVID-19 information for aged care and community care providers
Social Distancing in the workplace
Environmental cleaning for the non-healthcare setting (homes and workplaces)
Personal protective equipment (PPE) advice for WA Police