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Coronavirus Update - 6 March 2020: Telstra 'Call on Approach' process welcomed by Union

In our bulletin earlier this week, we explained our call on Telstra to consider implementing additional measures to protect our members, working in and around a customer’s premises, from potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Telstra has considered this and earlier today implemented a new ‘call on approach’ process which requires members to question customers about current illness and self-isolation before arriving on premises.

The Union welcomes and supports this additional measure to protect the health and safety of our members and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Whilst this isn’t the time for panic, it is most definitely the time for caution – and we all must do our bit.

This screening process may not eliminate all risk and members are still advised to immediately leave a customer’s premises should a customer present with any cold or flu-like symptoms whilst you are on-site.

For those members working in our industry who may be subcontractors or employed by companies other than Telstra, we would advise you to follow similar protocols when working within customer premises and should you be prevented from doing so by your management team, contact your State Union Branch office for immediate assistance.

Telstra’s advice is reproduced below, for your convenience. We urge members to become familiar with these procedures and follow them until further notice.

Staying up to date on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is our main priority. We continue to monitor the global activity and associated risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for our people and our business, with support from our internal health and security experts and the Australian government. You can find the latest information and support on Telstra's COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Intranet page.


To minimise the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus) virus, Field Service Technicians are now required to call on approach and ask the customer/end user mandatory questions before attending their premises.

Key Messages

  • Field Service Technicians must call customer/end user on approach to ask mandatory questions (see below) before attending their premises
  • Field Service Technicians must not attend the premises where the customer/end user answers Yes to either of the two questions
  • Where unable to attend premises, advise customer/end user and incomplete TOW

What you need to do now

Field Service Technicians must call customer/end user on approach and ask the following questions BEFORE attending site.

  1. Are you unwell and if so, have you been or do you have any reason to suspect that you've been exposed to someone with or suspected to have COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?  
  2. Are you in self-isolation due to having had contact with someone with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

If the customer/end user answers Yes to either of the first two questions, then you are to:

  • Advise customer you are not able to attend site.
  • Incomplete/Partial complete TOW due to Health and Safety Reasons with clear notes. 

We know some customers may not understand why we're doing this. If a customer is angry or disappointed, please say “I understand your frustrations and I know this is disappointing. Your work order has been sent back to the office and someone will be in touch shortly. We will get your issue resolved as soon as we can do so safely. Please understand that Telstra has a duty of care to the community and to employees to make sure our people, our customers and the community are safe and we don't want to contribute to the issue."


Should you require any further information with any of the above, please contact your State Branch Official immediately for assistance.

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