COVID-19

The information on this page provides egg farmers with a summary of Australian Eggs’ industry support and response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are unprecedented times that all Australians are living through and with the situation changing daily, Australian Eggs is planning for different scenarios so we can continue to provide services to the egg industry.

PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

Australian Eggs has prepared guidelines to help egg farms maintain business continuity by minimising the risk of COVID-19 spreading between farm staff.

Critically, if one employee becomes infected with COVID-19, all close contacts will be required to self-isolate. Therefore, it is extremely important for farm businesses to minimise contact between staff and maintain accurate records of colleagues that each staff member has worked with.

There remains some inconsistency in the definition of close contacts but where a business can demonstrate effective protocols to manage coronavirus, a close contact is:

  • Anyone who has been within 1.5m of the infected person for a cumulative period of at least 2 hours at any time in the 24 hours prior to symptoms developing; and/or
  • An employee who has face-to-face contact for a period of at least 15 minutes at any time in the 24 hours prior to symptoms developing

Follow this link or click on the image below to download a copy of the COVID-19: Staying Vigilant guidelines for egg producers.

COVID 19 Staying Vigilant cover image

Follow this link or click on the image below to download a copy of the original guidelines for egg producers.

Coronavirus Guidelines Cover Page

employee health and well-being

Australian Egg has also prepared guidelines to assist egg farm business owners to communicate with their employees through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the overload of COVID-19 information currently available, employees may be confused or concerned about what they hear. As an employer, it’s important to have conversations with employees that provide guidance and clarity.

Follow this link or click on the image below to download a copy of the employee health and well-being guidelines.

Employee health and wellbeing cover image

Frequently asked questions

What will happen to my business if an employee tests positive to COVID-19?

If a worker is confirmed to have COVID-19, you will need to follow the health advice from the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or your state or territory helpline:

New South Wales, Healthdirect – 1800 022 222
Queensland, 13 Health – 1343 2584
Victoria, Coronavirus Hotline – 1800 675 398
South Australia, SA COVID-19 Information Line – 1800 253 787
Tasmania, Tasmanian Public Health Hotline – 1800 671 738
Western Australia, use the National Coronavirus Information Helpline - 1800 020 080
Australian Capital Territory, Healthdirect – 1800 022 222
Northern Territory, use the National Coronavirus Information Helpline - 1800 020 080

What will need to be done exactly will depend on your circumstances, however, you must make sure the worker does not return to work while they are infectious.

Generally, you will be required to:

  • Identify the hazards. For example: Is the worker still at work? Were they at the workplace while they may have been infectious or have they been identified by a health authority as a ‘close contact’.
  • Assess the risks. For example: how much contact did the worker have with others or the workplace while possibly infectious? Be prepared to provide authorities with evidence of protocols to manage the risk of coronavirus and records of compliance.
  • Control the risks. For example: If the infected worker had limited contact you may be able to evacuate that area, ensure it is deep cleaned, and send home workers who had contact with them in accordance with any health advice.
  • Consult with other workers. It is important to consult with your workers at all stages of this process and keep in touch with workers who may be isolated away from the workplace.

Safe Work Australia has created an infographic on what to do if a worker has COVID-19, available here.

What is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep workers safe?

At a minimum, egg farm businesses should do the following:

  • Enforce physical distancing wherever possible by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres between people.
  • Supply PPE for workers who are unable to obey the 1.5 metres distance rule.
  • Encourage all workers to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and to practise good hygiene.
  • Be aware of how to spot COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) and make sure workers do not come to work if they are unwell.
  • Make sure your workplace is regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Have signs and posters around the workplace to remind workers and others of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread.
  • If/where applicable, allow workers to work from home.

For more information, see Safe Work Australia's Business Resource Kit.

 

What is considered 'close contact'?

There remains some inconsistency in the definition of close contacts but where a business can demonstrate effective protocols to manage COVID-19, a close contact should be:

  • Anyone who has been within 1.5m of the infected person for a cumulative period of at least 2 hours at any time in the 24 hours prior to symptoms developing; and/or
  • An employee who has had face-to-face contact for a period of at least 15 minutes at any time in the 24 hours prior to symptoms developing (e.g. meeting or lunchroom)

Steps for physical distancing in the workplace include:

  • Not shaking hands to greet others
  • Cancelling non-essential meetings. If needed, hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
  • Put off large meetings to a later date
  • Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch
  • Promote good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub for all staff
  • Eat lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the communal lunch room
  • Open windows or adjust air conditioning for more ventilation
  • Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • Avoid non-essential travel

How will 'close contacts' be traced?

If a worker tests positive to COVID-19, the business will be asked by health authorities to establish that worker's location(s) during the time or days before they went into isolation.

The business will have to work very quickly with health authorities to trace any close contacts of the infected person to minimise further risk of spread, and also minimise disruption to production. Businesses will be asked to provide:

  • A detailed list of personnel and contact information for each area / section and different shifts (if there are multiple shifts).
  • Previous rosters showing where the infected person may have been and who they had contact with.

  • Level of contact for each person on the list with the positive case (e.g. 15mins face to face, 2hrs in shared space).

The time frame for authorities to undertake contact tracing will depend on:

  • The number of people who have been in contact with the worker with the positive result.
  • How fast the business provides the required information.

How long does COVID-19 survive on surfaces?

Research by the US National Institutes of Health and major universities including Princeton and University of California has been broadly accepted around the world. It found COVID-19 survived:

  • 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel
  • Up to 24hrs on cardboard
  • Up to 4hrs on copper
  • Up to 3 hrs post-aerosolisation from an aerosol

Results indicate that transmission of COVID-19 from aerosol and machinery or other surfaces in a business is plausible as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.

Australian Eggs' programs

Australian Eggs has implemented processes to enforce physical-distancing between staff, along with other measures to lessen risks associated with COVID-19.

During this time of uncertainty, we will remain fully engaged with our farmers, research partners and industry stakeholders. We understand this is a very challenging time for the industry, but please be assured that we will be doing everything we can in the coming months to provide support.

RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT & EXTENSION

Upcoming workshops and training programs that were going to take place in person will now be moved online to webinar and video conferencing formats. However, that's dependent on there currently being industry demand for these programs.

If you are interested in participating in online training programs, please contact Nick Baker, Australian Eggs' R&D Adoption Coordinator, at [E-Mail via form]

In addition, the majority of research projects that are currently being undertaken are continuing as normal.

Further updates on RD&E will continue to be made available as they occur.

MARKETING

With the shift to consumers staying at home, egg sales have been very positive. Because of this steady demand, where possible, Australian Eggs has cancelled or postponed major advertising, and is adjusting messaging across outdoor advertising, social media and other digital channels.

Messages focus more on the nutritional benefits of eggs, particularly in light of recent updates to the Heart Foundation’s dietary guidelines, as well as the changing indoor lifestyles of consumers with COVID-19 restrictions. Consumers are being reminded of the healthy, affordable and versatile attributes of eggs to support positive sentiment and confidence in the value of eggs as part of the Aussie diet.

Additionally, greater emphasis is being placed on ensuring healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as dieticians and general practitioners, are aware of the nutritional benefits of eggs. HCPs are in a unique position to provide trusted advice to their patients on the benefits of eggs and so engaging with them on the health benefits of eggs, particularly in relation to Vitamin D, mental health and heart health is important during this time of uncertainty.

We encourage you to engage with us through our digital platforms for nutritional facts and healthy recipes you can share with your own audiences:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

RESOURCES