The Ask a Librarian Service will be unavailable on Monday 6 February between 8 and 10 am for a scheduled upgrade.
Last Amendment: 24 December 2021
Policy owner/sponsor: Chief Operating Officer
Branch contact: Governance and Risk Specialist
Approved by: Chief Operating Officer
Date approved: 11 March 2022
Next review: 30 April 2022 or as required
This Safety Plan outlines how the State Library of New South Wales (the Library) is complying with Public Health Orders and NSW Health advice in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and managing risks posed by the virus to staff, volunteers, readers and visitors.
The operator of the Library’s café, Laissez-Faire, has a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. The Library Bar also maintains a separate COVID-19 Safety Plan.
The format of the Plan is based on the specific template provided by NSW Health for libraries.
This update is to align with Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2022, effective from 11th March 2022.
Wellbeing of staff and visitors
The Library has instituted an Action Plan for persons presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.
Any staff or contractor, volunteer, or visitor who present as unwell will be asked to leave and be referred for COVID-19 testing. People will not be able to return to the Library until symptoms have subsided.
Any staff or contractor who tests positive for COVID-19 must immediately self-isolate for 7 days and take reasonable steps to notify employers, close contracts and education providers of their diagnosis. Any staff or contractor who is a household contact of a person who has tests positive from COVID-19 or assesses the risk of contracting Covid-19 from a confirmed case as high, must self-isolate for 7 days immediately after becoming aware. This requirement does not apply if they have already been diagnosed with COVID-19 and it is less than 8 weeks since they completed their self-isolation.
Information & Training for staff and volunteers
The Library has developed a COVID-Safe handbook which provides information for staff and volunteers in relation to prevailing health advice. In addition to the COVID-Safe handbook, regular staff forums are held and email updates to all staff and to managers are provided to keep staff informed.
Front-facing personnel onsite have received appropriate training in relation to staying away from work when sick, physical distancing, wearing masks, cleaning requirements and managing sick visitors.
The Library’s core working hours have been varied to be from 11am – 3pm. This allows staff to utilise public transport outside of peak times. Staff can take meal breaks anytime between 11am and 2pm.
Conditions of entry
Special conditions of entry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic have been addended to the Library’s Reader and Visitor Code of Conduct and are regularly updated on the Library’s website, at all entrances to the Library and through other communication channels.
All staff must be fully vaccinated (or hold an approved medical exemption) to enter the Library. New passes have been issued to fully vaccinated staff who have provided evidence to Human Resources or Security that they are fully vaccinated. This pass allows the security teams to recognise them as a member of staff and that they are fully vaccinated.
From 1 February 2022, visitors can enter the Library regardless of their vaccination status.
Where possible, staff and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe physical distance of 1.5 metres, including:
- At points of mixing or queuing
- Between seated groups
- Between staff
Congestion – within the Library
In the event of congestion at any time within the Library, for example in an Exhibition space, security will intervene to maintain physical distancing.
Congestion – outside the Library
The security team ensure orderly queues are formed for people wishing to enter the Library.
There are no areas within the Library that are subject to capacity limits.
COVID-19 guidance on ventilation
The Facilities Management team have reviewed the COVID-19 guidance on ventilation and air conditioning systems are managed to optimise the environment so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Library has a building management system that allows the air quality to be continually monitored and controlled remotely. Carbon Dioxide levels are also monitored throughout the building to ensure levels remain well within recommended levels.
Staff have a variety of outdoor spaces adjacent to lunch rooms to use during work breaks. The Café will be providing as much outdoor seating capacity as possible. There are many outdoor spaces adjacent to the Library for use by visitors and staff.
The Library has a requirement to carefully maintain the air temperature and relative humidity within the building. As such, conditions are maintained mechanically rather than through natural ventilation by opening windows and doors.
Optimising Air Conditioning
Air conditioning units are adjusted to ensure the maximum intake of outside air will be used and a minimum of recycled air provided temperature and humidity are maintained within an acceptable range.
Maintenance of Air Conditioning Systems
All air conditioning units are covered by a programmed maintenance regime that ensures that their performance is optimised.
Advice in relation to optimising indoor ventilation
The facilities management team are experienced and qualified to ensure that the indoor ventilation is optimised. Specialist contractors are engaged as required as part of this program.
Hygiene and cleaning
Face masks are encouraged in indoor settings where it is difficult to maintain physical distance from others. It is strongly recommended that customer facing staff wear a facemask.
Disposable masks will be provided to any member of staff or visitor who asks for one. Perspex barriers remain in place on the service desks in the Library’s foyers and reading rooms.
Hand hygiene is promoted to all Library staff, readers and visitors through signage, online communications and by Library staff. Hand sanitiser units and antibacterial wipe dispenser have been deployed throughout the Library.
All Library readers are encouraged to wash their hands before handling Library materials and equipment.
All staff wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling returned library materials.
Bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap, paper towel dispensers and/or hot air hand driers, as well as instructions on how to wash hands properly.
Frequently touched areas and surfaces are cleaned several times per day with disinfectant solution including library computers, elevator buttons, handrails, tables, countertops, doorknobs, sinks, and staff-room facilities. All public areas are cleaned at least daily.
Plans are in place with cleaning contractors should part or all of the Library be required to be closed for deep cleaning following notification that a person with COVID-19 visited the premises.
Records of visitors
The requirement for staff and visitors to check-in to the Library using the Service NSW’s check-in tool no longer applies.
Records of the entry of staff, regular contractors and volunteers are captured by the Library’s security system and can be provided to NSW Health should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Library. The Library would support contract tracing for visitors through use of its digital communication channels, including social media.
Privacy of records
Any details collected from staff, contractors and visitors are solely used for the purposes of contact tracing.
Guidance for businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19
The NSW Government publication 'guidance for businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19' has been reviewed. Protocols for managing the situation where a worker is hospitalised or dies as a result of contracting COVID-19 at work have been implemented. Such situations are managed the Head of People & Culture.
Cooperation with NSW Health SafeWork NSW
The Library will fully co-operate with NSW Health if contacted in relation to a positive case of COVID-19 at the Library.
Notification to SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW will be notified by the Head of People & Culture if the Library becomes aware that a staff member has tested positive and is hospitalised or dies.
COVIDSafe business registration
The State Library of NSW has registered as a NSW COVIDSafe Business.
- Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the overall implementation of this Plan
- Governance and Risk Specialist is responsible for monitoring current NSW Health advice and amendments to Public Health Orders to update the plan accordingly
- All Library Staff and volunteers are responsible for following the requirements of this Plan