Published in the Master Plumber Spring 2020 issue, written by ADG Engineers.
Queensland founded engineering firm ADG Engineers has partnered with Workplace Medicine Australia to develop an innovative digital risk management process integrating infrared thermography scanning and medical support funcions, enabling organisations to conduct mass screenings for COVID-19 symptoms as Australians return to work.
As many Australians start to slowly trickle back into the office, there’s no doubt our perceptions of a ‘safe’ workplace have dramatically shifted as we continue to adapt to the global pandemic.
Several industries have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19, not only from an economic perspective, but also in terms of employee health with workplace absenteeism currently costing Australian businesses around $4,025 per employee, per year — totalling an approximate annual cost of $7 billion to the Australian economy.
While businesses continue to operate under COVID-safe plans to protect their people, ADG Health recently partnered with Queensland-based Workplace Medicine Australia to take this a step further.
Our strategic collaboration has seen the development of an innovative, digital risk management process — the COVID-19 Support System — integrating infrared thermography scanning and medical support functions, allowing organisations to conduct mass screening for COVID-19 symptoms and safely manage return to work.
Our engineering expertise, combined with Workplace Medicine Australia’s medical knowledge, has enabled organisations to implement an automated approach to early detection of potentially infected staff members, with a confidential and tailored app-based reporting system included to minimise the risk of identified individuals impacting the wider workforce.
ADG Engineers Team Lead James O’Brien said the rollout of the COVID-19 Support System will be vital in helping safeguard the Australian community from additional COVID-19 cases.
“The regular and proactive scanning of staff members returning to a shared workspace for indicators of fever or possible respiratory tract infection is vital in managing and containing potential infection in organisations, and will help to stop the unnecessary spread of viruses like COVID-19 and influenza among our Australian workforce,” he said.
“Through the early detection and management of employees who present symptoms upon entering the workplace, our Queensland-developed systems aim to ensure the health of hundreds of vital contributors to the economy and optimise capability within workforces not just state-wide, but across the country.”
An iteration of this game-changing technology was rolled out in June at a large construction site office compound in Melbourne’s CBD, with further implementation of the system due to take place across additional sites in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales in coming months.
The COVID-19 Support System complements the COVID-19 testing processes approved by the Australian Government, and best-practice confidentiality and medical protocols as set out by the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP).
The devastating impact of Victoria’s second coronavirus wave has been laid bare in new Commonwealth Treasury data which shows Victoria is falling behind the rest of country in terms of economic recovery.
The number of Victorians on unemployment benefits is anticipated to skyrocket over the coming months, with the Morrison Government expecting more Victorians will soon be on JobKeeper than the rest of the country combined.
Treasury estimates Victoria will make up around 60 per cent of the expected 2.24 million JobKeeper recipients in the December quarter, and 60 per cent of the expected 1.75 million recipients in the March quarter.
While critical Victorian businesses have continued to operate under COVIDSafe plans to protect their people, more businesses will be assessing their arrangements as the lockdown restrictions are lifted. The recent partnership between ADG Health and Workplace Medicine Australia takes the current required measures a step further.
The strategic collaboration has seen the development of an innovative, digital risk management process — the COVID-19 Support System — integrating infrared thermography scanning and medical support functions allowing organisations to conduct mass screening for COVID-19 symptoms and safely manage return to work.
ADG’s problem solving expertise, combined with Workplace Medicine Australia’s medical knowledge, has enabled organisations to implement an automated approach to early detection of potentially infected staff members, with a confidential and tailored app-based reporting system included to minimise the risk of identified individuals impacting the wider workforce.
ADG Engineers Victorian Practice Manager Matthew Obst said the rollout of the integrated risk management system will be vital in helping safeguard the wider Australian community from a second wave of COVID-19 as experienced in Victoria and to help the state itself avoid a third wave.
“As many businesses endeavour to transition their staff back to a shared office environment, the regular and proactive scanning of staff members for fever, or possible respiratory tract infection, is vital in the identification of early signs of major health concerns such as COVID-19 or influenza,” he said.
“Through the early detection and management of employees who present symptoms upon entering the workplace, we aim to ensure the health of hundreds of vital contributors to the economy and optimise capability within workforces across the country.”
Workplace Medicine Australia Medical Director Dr Scott Allison said the proliferation of the novel coronavirus, particularly in high-density cities such as Melbourne, has generated the need for a program like the COVID-19 Support System — which also has the ability to integrate a robust medical support function into the seamless risk mitigation process.
“Our system has been designed to provide organisations with integrated technology to identify workers with a fever and provide them with immediate access to professional medical review, allowing staff members access to a holistic solution from testing and assessment, through to diagnosis and a care plan,” he said.
Following the initial installation of the COVID-19 Support System at a Melbourne site, ADG Engineers is in the process of implementing the new technology at additional workplace facilities across sites in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.