With recent provincial news about the potential relaxing of some social restrictions in time for the May long weekend, you may be thinking about how you can balance the need to re-open your business with the cautious planning required to ensure a healthy and safe return to the workplace for your employees and customers. This week we are highlighting the tools available from WorkSafe BC to assist you in building your Workplace Plan and resources to ensure your employees, suppliers, contractors and customers are protected. We hope you find this information useful.
Here are this week’s topics for you:
- BC’s Restart Plan
- WorkSafe BC COVID-19 Safety Plan guidelines
BC’s Restart Plan
Yesterday, the provincial government announced steps to begin restarting our economy through ongoing preventative measures for continued physical distancing and increased workplace safety precautions. As an employer, it is your responsibility to identify and reduce the transmission risk in your workplace(s) and implement a workplace safety plan (formal or informal) for COVID-19 before reopening or expanding services. The goal of this program is to stimulate economic recovery and get people back to work while avoiding increased infection rates.
This is a four-phase plan recognizing we are currently in Phase 1 with delivery of essential services. Phase 2 in mid-May will see the opening of personal care services, parks and recreation and services including restaurants, pubs, museums and libraries as examples. These businesses must operate with enhanced protocols for:
- Physical distancing and barriers
- Cleanliness and PPE equipment
- Clear signage, rules and guidelines – communicated, trained and validated
- Review the Health and Safety Guidelines and available resources under WorkSafe BC and learn about recommended best practices.
- Assess and implement a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your workplace.
Here is a link to more information:
WorkSafe BC COVID-19 Safety Plan guidelines
Your COVID-19 Safety Plan must address how your workplace will be organized and arranged to maintain physical distancing requirements. It will need to specify how certain “at risk” work duties will be carried out, the cleanliness standards and processes, as well as how you communicate and train your team to inform them of the changes and precautions you are implementing.
You will also need to ensure you can demonstrate a process for validating how these measures are maintained in your workplace.
To develop your work safety plan, you will need to:
- Assess your work environment: Ensure physical distancing and cleaning processes can be maintained in ALL areas, including doors, light switches, entry/exit points, hallways, washroom facilities, break and meeting rooms. What equipment (Office, copiers, fridges, microwaves, etc.) and materials are being shared or exchanged?
- Develop policies: Ensure employees who are sick with a cold or flu do not attend work and there is training for a procedure for supervisors to address employees who are symptomatic in the workplace. Workplace or personal travel policies and work from home procedures should also be updated. If your policies simply need updating or you have to draft and implement an employee policy, we’re happy to assist with this.
- Communication and Training: How will you involve your team in developing and maintaining a safe work environment? Is there a clear process for employees to raise concerns? How can you support your Health and Safety Committee or Representative? If you don’t have this representation in place, it is a good time to consider the importance of this role in your organization.
- Monitor: Your plans will be based on your knowledge and individual circumstances today. Continuously monitoring and updating your plan, process and policies will be critical to ensuring the safety and security of your employees, suppliers, contractors and customers.
While you are not required to submit or post your COVID-19 Safety Plan, you may be asked to provide them if you have a WorkSafe claim or inspection. You are required to ensure your employees are aware of and understand the steps you are implementing to reduce their risks and protect them.
Here is a link to this resource:
Be Safe, Be Strong, Be Prepared
Our team at TallSky Consulting is continuing to work and support our clients, new and valued. If there is anything we can do to assist you in building out your safety plan or drafting or updating policies, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We continue to offer our expertise as/when you need it, and from our virtual offices to yours.
DISCLAIMER: The information is provided as general information on these topics, and given the rapidly evolving environment, they may not be relevant with recent updates or changes on the topic. These materials are not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Please do not rely solely upon this information for making decisions regarding employees in your workplace.