With health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind in B.C. as the province starts to reopen, WorkSafeBC is now requiring businesses in B.C. have a Safety Plan outlining each business’s plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Below are the points B.C. businesses must consider when developing their plan:
- Assessing the risk in your workplace: employers must identify possible transmission points such as shared spaces, proximity of workers to other workers, possible exchange of materials (i.e. money or paperwork), surfaces that are frequently touched, etc. Employers must also consider their employees – can they work remotely? Are any high risk? Do they take public transit to get to work?
- Implement measures to reduce the risk: employers must put the necessary measures in place to help reduce the risk of transmission. Things to be considered include – does the workspace need to be reorganized? Should workers be required to wear masks where distancing isn’t possible? Are there adequate handwashing facilities in the workplace? Are there adequate cleaning protocols for common areas?
- Develop policies: workplace policies should be developed or revised to include information on who can be at the workplace, how illness will be addressed, how employees will be kept safe. Policies need to also include the following:
- anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, must self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days;
- anyone under the direction of the provincial health officer to self-isolate must follow those instructions; and
- anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada, or who is a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
- Develop communication plans and training: communicate and train your employees on the new protocols and Safety Plan.
- Monitor your workplace and update your plans as needed
- Assess and address risks from resuming operations: are there any risks involved with resuming business? Assess whether any new changes to how you operate introduce new risks.
Employers are not required to submit their Safety Plans, however they will be required to provide them if requested by a WorkSafeBC health officer. The Safety Plan must also be posted on the business‘s website (if there is one) and in the workplace.
The province of Alberta also recommends having a similar Safety Plan, but it is not legally required. That being said, having a written Safety Plan is a good idea for all businesses across all jurisdictions.
If you have any questions about reopening, please reach out to speak to an e2r® Advisor.