On 16 July 2021, PSA Work Health & Safety (WHS) wrote to Multicultural NSW (MNSW)for assurances that MNSW interpreters are protected during the CoVid -19 delta outbreak, when working in Courts, with Police and with other public facing agencies.
The PSA has provided a number of Recommendations to assist MNSW in mitigating the current risks and ensuring protection for Interpreters who carry out this essential work, in accordance with the Workplace Health and Safety Act Act 2011, sections 19, 48 and 49 and the current NSW Government Health orders.
The PSA has recommended the following controls be implemented immediately :
- Review systems and protocols for using interpreters.
- Interpreters work via Audio-visual link (AVL) where possible during this period
- Provision of appropriate equipment and training, to ensure ease of interpreting in AVL situations.
Where working via AVL is not possible, and worker is required to be present in court or interview room:
- Appropriate physical distancing
- Provision of 3 way communication headphones
- Provision of Level 2 single use surgical masks, hand sanitiser, and 70% alcohol wipes to wipe surfaces before and after use.
Where physical distancing is not possible:
- The use of perspex screen between interpreter and accused,
- Level 2 single use surgical masks, hand sanitiser, and 70% alcohol wipes to wipe surfaces before and after use.
If Perspex screens are unavailable/impractical
- Physical distance as far as possible
- Face shields (each interpreter to have their own face shield provided by employer)
- Level 2 masks, hand sanitiser and 70% alcohol wipes to wipe surfaces before and after use.
The PSA further recommend MNSW make the following a high priority:
- consult with Courts and other agencies with whom they work, to ensure clear communication and expectations between the places conducting business (PCBUs),
- consult with all affected workers, including timely, current communication on COVID-19 risk mitigation measures”
- conduct risk assessments of Courts and in other settings attended by interpreters.
Members interested in knowing more about their WHS can register for a number of the PSA one hour webinar available to all members.