We have put together a collection of resources related to COVID-19 in the workplace, organized by topic or resource type. Check back regularly, as new resources continue to be added.
- Review and Refresh your COVID-19 Safety Plan
- COVID-19 Safety Plan Information
- Tourism and Hospitality Industry Sector Best Practice Guides
- WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Sector Protocols
- WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Information
- BC Centre for Disease Control – Tourism & Hospitality Information
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) Resources
- COVID-19 Screening Tools
- Posters for the Workplace
- Training & Educational Webinars On COVID-19
- Mental Health
- Working From Home
- Background Information/Further Reading
- Emergency Planning, Preparedness & Business Continuity
- Public Health Agency Websites
- Health and Safety and COR FAQs
- COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool for Tourism and Hospitality Employers
- Review and Refresh your COVID-19 Safety Plan
- WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Safety Plan
- WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Safety Plan App
- COVID-19 Industry Sector Best Practice Guides and Protocols
- Provincial Health Officer’s Order Regarding Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans
- COVID-19 Tips – Reopening for Business
- go2HR’s Tourism and Hospitality COVID-19 Best Practice Guide
- Allied Golf Association of BC – Best Practices Manual for BC Golf Operations Amidst COVID-19
- BC Craft Beer – Reopening Tasting Rooms & Hospitality Recommendations
- BC Horse Council – Guidelines for the BC Equestrian Community
- BC Hotel Association – Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
- BC Lodging & Campground Association – COVID-19 Operator Guidance
- BC Rivers Outfitters Association – COVID-19 Best Practices For Commercial River Rafting Operation
- BC Trucking Association – Best Practices for Motor Coach Operators for the Safe Transportation of Passengers
- BC Wine Institute – Winery and Hospitality Best Practices
- Interior Health Authority – Guideline for Swimming Pools
- Restaurants Canada – COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Guide
- Sport Fishing – BC Tidal Waters Charter, Guide and Lodge Operations
- Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines: COVID-19 Safety Plan
- COVID-19 and Returning to Safe Operation – Phases 2 & 3
- Hospitality and COVID-19 Safety
- COVID-19 Information and Resources – Health and Safety
- Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Frequently Asked Questions for Employers
- COVID-19: A Guide to Reducing the Risk
- COVID-19 Health and Safety: Cleaning and Disinfecting
- COVID-19 Health and Safety: Selecting and Using Masks
- COVID-19 Health and Safety: Designing Effective Barriers
- OFAA Protocols During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Guide for Employers and Occupational First Aid Attendants
- COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: General Ventilation and Air Circulation
- Reopening For Business
- COVID-19 Screening Tool
- Respirators, Surgical Masks and Non-Medical Masks
- Get The Facts On Masks
- First Responders
- Home Delivery and Couriers
- Preventing Stigma
- Restaurants and Food Services
- Disinfection of Touch Points
- COVID-19 Tips – Patios
- COVID-19: Workplace Health and Safety Guide
- Stop COVID-19 – Hand Hygiene
- Protect Yourself and Others from Influenza – Poster
- Protect Yourself and Others from Influenza – Employee Leaflet
- Cleaning Hands with an Alcohol-based Sanitizer
- Do’s and Don’ts of Self Isolation
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Handwashing
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Occupancy Limit
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Cover Coughs and Sneezes
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Entry Check For Visitors
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: Entry Check for Workers
- Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19: How to Use a Mask
- Sequence for Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Q: Our business is currently closed and we had planned to carry out our 2020 audit in the near future. What do we need to do?
A: WorkSafeBC is aware that many businesses are not currently operating at all or are not in their normal operating modes. As they provide information relating to the scheduling of COR audits for the remainder of 2020, we are communicating this to our COR certified employers, according to their particular situations and stages within the COR lifecycle.
If you are due to complete a maintenance audit in 2020 (whether Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), or both OHS and Return-to-Work (RTW) COR), you have until the end of the calendar year in which to do so. Choosing the most appropriate time to carry out your maintenance audit may depend on the latest public health guidance, as well as your level of business/operational activity.
If you are due to complete a re-certification audit in 2020 (whether Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), or both OHS and Return-to-Work (RTW) COR), you may apply for a ‘2020 audit waiver’ from go2HR’s Industry Health and Safety team. Please note that this waiver only applies to any COR certificates that are expiring up to August 31, 2020. Once approved, WorkSafeBC will issue a one-year COR certificate(s) from the date of the original certificate expiry. (i.e. a certificate with an expiry date of 2020-05-03 will now have an expiry date of 2021-05-03). Employers accepted into the waiver program will require re-certification audit(s) to be conducted by an external auditor (internal auditor for small employers) in 2021 on or before their new certificate expiry date.
If you are due to complete a re-certification audit in 2020 (whether Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), or both OHS and Return-to-Work (RTW) COR), and your current COR certificate expires on or after September 1, 2020, the current guidance from WorkSafeBC is that they intend to move forward with the COR program, as normal. They will be reviewing the COVID-19 outbreak over the summer and, if there are continuing or additional restrictions, they may extend the waiver program or take other action.
If you have any specific questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact the go2HR Industry Health and Safety team.
Q: We qualified for a 2020 audit waiver. However, we would like to proceed with our full re-certification audit in 2020, instead of waiting until 2021 to re-certify. What should we do?
A: Even though you may have already qualified for an audit waiver, you are still able to conduct a re-certification audit in 2020, subject to the latest public health guidance, as well as your level of business/operational activity. If approved, this regular re-certification audit would have a three-year validity and your audit waiver would be cancelled. Please contact the go2HR Industry Health and Safety team if you would like further information regarding this.
Q: We are interested in becoming COR certified and were planning to arrange our certification audit. Given the current circumstances, should we postpone our audit?
A: All new 2020 COR employer certifications must follow the current normal processes and requirements, including being in “normal operating mode” at the time of audit, as directed by WorkSafeBC. If that is not currently possible, employers should defer pursuing COR certification until the requirements may be met. We are happy to discuss your particular situation with you at any time, to help you decide when might be the best time to pursue COR certification.
Q: We recertified earlier this year and have not yet received our new COR certificate. Who should we follow up with?
A: WorkSafeBC’s weekly process to print and mail hard-copy certificates to go2HR has temporarily ceased. However, their process to generate new COR certificate numbers and publish these certification details on their website continues as normal. Should you wish to access your new certificate number or need to provide proof of COR qualification, for bidding purposes, please visit the appropriate section of WorkSafeBC’s website.
Q: We have already completed our COR audit for 2020. Do we have to do anything else?
A: If your COR audit has already been completed and approved by go2HR, rest assured that it has been treated as part of our normal course of business. The only difference is, if this was a recertification audit, you won’t be receiving a hard-copy certificate at this time, as per the previous Q&A.
Q: In what situations should employees not come to work, in relation to COVID-19?
- Anyone with potential COVID 19 symptoms such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing must self‐isolate at home for 14 days.
- Workers who have travelled internationally. In these cases, they must remain away from the workplace for at least 14 days.
- A worker who shares a residence with another person that has been exposed to COVID-19.
- Workers who have been exposed to anyone confirmed to have COVID-19, or to anyone with possible symptoms of COVID-19, should call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for an assessment and to determine if any further action is required.
Q: An employee has tested positive for COVID-19 – what does the employer do?
A: The employee should be asked to stay at home and must not be permitted to return to the workplace until they are free of the COVID-19 virus. Any other employees who worked closely with the affected worker must also go into self-isolation at home for 14 days, to prevent the infection from spreading in the workplace, and contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for an assessment and to determine any necessary next steps. (What describes “closely” would be dependent on the nature of interaction between employees, but employers must err on the side of caution when making this determination)
Q: Should the employer divulge the name of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 to other employees?
A: The employer should take reasonable measures to protect the identity of the affected worker, when establishing who they may have come into contact with. It may be challenging to provide sufficient information to your team members while protecting the privacy of the affected worker and in small organizations it may be more obvious. Ultimately, employers must strive to provide as little personal information as possible but as much detail as is required in order to ensure the health and safety of the other team members.
Q: One of our employees told us that they came into contact with someone who has COVID-19. What should we do?
A: The employee who came into contact with the affected individual should be removed from the workplace immediately and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Other workers who may have come into close contact with the employee should also be removed from the workplace for at least a 14 day period and asked to monitor symptoms. Employers should have a policy requiring anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing to self-isolate at home for 14 days, as well as anyone advised by public health to self-isolate. This is a good opportunity to reiterate the policy to your team and make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities.
Q: If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, does the employer have to report it to the provincial or federal government?
A: No. the medical professional who received the diagnosis is obliged to report the positive test result to the provincial health authorities. There is no obligation for the employer to report a confirmed case of COVID-19.
If an employee in the workplace is diagnosed, the employer may choose to voluntarily contact the public health authority to receive further advice and assistance on how to identify other potential workplace contacts. This is best determined on a case by case basis and may be influenced by a variety of factors, including the individual’s potential exposure to members of the public.
If the employee becomes ill or dies from COVID-19, and it is determined that the infection occurred at the workplace or in the course of employment, there may be an obligation, under health and safety and workers’ compensation legislation, to notify WorkSafeBC.
Q: Are there any general cleaning and disinfecting guidelines that we should follow?
A: Ensure facilities are being thoroughly cleaned at least once per day, including a disinfectant wipe down of all touch points (e.g. door handles, toilet handles, windows, stairs, handrails, door handles, garbage handles, phones).
Refer to this Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces document for further details about cleaning and disinfection in the workplace.
Q: How can we ensure cooks in small spaces maintain proper physical distancing?
- Work with minimal staff allowing physical distancing
- Consider staggering shifts so fewer workers are on-site
- Adjust work space to allow physical distancing
- Adjust menus, focusing on items that are easy to prepare within the space
Q: Do employers have to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and can they enforce the wearing of it?
A: If you are an employer, you are responsible for providing and enforcing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in your workplace, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
When all other measures have been considered and found to be impractical or ineffective at controlling a particular workplace hazard, PPE may be necessary, as a last resort, either alone or in conjunction with other, more effective controls. Aside from providing PPE, employers must ensure that:
- the right type of PPE is selected for the job;
- it fits and is comfortable to wear under working conditions;
- workers are trained in how to use it;
- it is regularly cleaned, inspected and maintained and stored properly when not in use.
Supervisors are responsible for monitoring the use of PPE in the workplace.
Workers must wear any PPE that is required for the job. They must also make sure that it doesn’t cause any health and safety issues, such as interfering with breathing, mobility or vision.
Q: Do cooks need to wear gloves when preparing food?
A: No. However, if the employee chooses to use gloves:
- Ensure they wash their hands thoroughly before and after using gloves.
- Ensure employees change gloves frequently and always between different tasks.
- Ensure proper removal and disposal of gloves. Check out this resource from WorkSafeBC: Glove removal procedure.
- If not using gloves, food handlers must still wash their hands frequently, when starting work, after returning to the kitchen from a break, after touching their face, sneezing or coughing and always between different tasks.
Q: What do we have to do if we have employees working alone?
A: Employers must have procedures in place to ensure the well-being of workers who work alone or in isolation. This should include regular check-ins. Lone workers may be at increased risk of confrontations or even violence, particularly if they are on shift during late night hours. Lone workers must be able to get assistance if they are injured or there is an emergency. Check out WorkSafeBC’s Working Alone Handbook for more information.
Q: Our hotel is being used by essential workers who need to be away from home for extended periods of time to respond to COVID-19, so that they can self-isolate, or meet work demands. What can we do to protect our front-line employees?
A: If a guest is staying at a hotel for the purposes of self-quarantining, remind them to inform local health authorities or staff immediately if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Instruct the guest to confine themselves to their guestroom
- You should NOT be providing cleaning, housekeeping or valet services to self-isolating guests
- Stock guest rooms with extra towels, linens, toilet paper, garbage can liners, etc. in advance of guest check ins
- Provide large garbage bags and plastic laundry bags and have guests place them outside their door at regular frequencies for disposal and cleaning
- Treat everything that is picked up from any guest’s room as if it is contaminated. Staff should wear disposable gloves, dispose of the gloves properly, and wash their hands thoroughly and regularly.
- Consider discontinuing door and/or bell service
- Temporarily close access to common areas that may be considered high-touch contagious areas, such as pools, gyms, and saunas
- Limit food services to packaged meals that can be dropped off at the door and disposed of by the guest
- Disinfect elevator buttons, stair rails, door handles, and other surfaces regularly and thoroughly
- Consider self check-in to provide physical distancing with front desk
- Inform staff and guests that they must maintain proper physical distancing (2 metres distance between people)
- Display information in various locations to show staff and guests what you are doing to control exposure to COVID-19
- Refer to this BC Hotel Association guide on taking care of guests and employees and this resource on best practices around hotel guests in isolation.
Q: How should we clean our workplace after the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 leaves to go into self-isolation?
- Clean all common areas where the affected individual may have had access to, thinking about access and egress routes that the individual may have taken when coming to and leaving work.
- If you share your building with other tenants and businesses, you should also make them aware of the situation. Consider elevators, restrooms, staff changing rooms, and other back of house and front of house areas.
- Aside from performing a deep clean, an enhanced daily cleaning schedule should be implemented on an ongoing basis.
- Be sure to use appropriate cleaning and disinfection products, along with any required personal protective equipment.
- On an individual level, all employees should continue to follow the guidelines provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control in order to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
Q: What measures should employers put in place to help protect themselves and others while at work?
A: If it is necessary for workers to come to work, employers should take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The priority should be to ensure social and physical distancing is practiced by everyone in your workplace, including:
- If practicable, consider reconfiguring the workplace to maintain appropriate distance between workers.
- Limiting worker participation in in-person gatherings and encouraging virtual meetings and teleconferences as an alternative.
- Limiting worker travel.
- Educating workers on measures to help prevent the transmission of infectious disease and their duty to report symptoms or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
- Increase workplace cleaning, provide the necessary supplies, and reinforce personal hygiene messages to workers.
Q: What should workers do when at the workplace, to help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19?
A: Comply with the employer’s instructions around minimizing exposure to COVID-19.
- Wash their hands frequently, and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Take steps to minimize exposure to COVID-19 while away from work.
- Immediately inform their supervisor/manager if they suspect they have COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone else who is suspected as having it.
Q: What are the health and safety guidelines that employers should be aware of, for staff housing?
A: Where staff housing is provided, the following points should be considered:
- Develop a COVID-19 infection prevention and control protocol to reduce the risk of transmission both in worker accommodation and in vehicles used for work and to transport workers to and from their accommodation;
- Ensure that all staff members living in staff housing are familiar with the prevention and control measures and that they follow them at all times;
- Appoint a coordinator to oversee all aspects of the protocol, including monitoring workers for COVID-19 symptoms, to act as a source of support and information and to ensure ongoing compliance with the prevention and control protocol;
- Monitor public health guidance regularly and adhere to any appropriate controls and/or provincial health officer orders, if applicable;
- Display information relating to guidance and/or provincial health officer orders, as well as other general information in a prominent area, for the attention of all workers.
For more information, including physical distancing guidelines for staff housing, please refer to the go2HR COVID-19 Best Practices Template.
Q: What if a worker raises concerns about unsafe work in relation to COVID-19?
A: Workers have the right to refuse work if they believe it presents an undue hazard. This refers to an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive or disproportionate” risk. Such risk is considered to be above and beyond what a general member of the public would face through routine, day to day activities.
If such a situation were to arise, the worker would be required to follow specific steps to resolve the issue, including reporting the undue hazard to their employer so that it may be investigated.
The employer must consider any right to refuse unsafe work on an individual basis, depending on the specifics of the situation.
Q: Can employees be disciplined for a work refusal?
A: Provincial occupational health and safety legislation generally provides that employers cannot dismiss, discipline, or intimidate employees for properly exercising a health and safety right.
If the work refusal has been exercised in bad faith an employer may be justified in imposing discipline however, the ability to discipline will depend on the circumstances of the work refusal and the language in the applicable work refusal right.
Employers considering discipline for a refusing worker may want to consider consulting legal counsel.
Q: How can my kitchen staff practice physical distancing in the workplace when our kitchen is so small?
A: It may be particularly challenging to practice physical distancing in busy and compact work environments, such as kitchens. The goal, as for all work environments, should be to increase the space between members of staff when preparing food. The same rule applies when staff are interacting with customers during take-out and delivery services.
You should think about ways to implement physical distancing in your workplace and consider options like:
- Posting physical distancing posters and marking/dividing different areas to remind staff and customers
- Staggering activities, such as food preparation, in order to limit the number of staff working in a confined space at any one time
- Moving some activities to different rooms or unused areas, to allow for increased separation
- Adjusting shift times to minimize the number of employees working at any one time.
Q: What should we do if a hotel guest tells one of our employees that they have COVID-19?
A: If a staff member is made aware of a guest conﬁrmed to have COVID-19 they should contact the General Manager or owner immediately. The hotel should promptly coordinate with local health authorities to establish crisis management procedures. Guests should also be required to remain in their room.
Additional best-practices, operating procedures and considerations for dealing with hotel guests in isolation can be found here.
Q: Can staff question a guest if they have COVID-19?
A: It is recommended that staff do not question guests or make assumptions regarding their health. It would also be inappropriate to check their passports or ask about their recent travel.
Q: What should we do if guests want to self-isolate at our hotel?
A: If a guest is staying at your hotel for the purposes of self-isolating, they should be reminded to inform local health authorities or staff immediately if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.
Hotels should also consider the following:
- Not providing cleaning or housekeeping services
- Asking the guest to conﬁne themselves to their guestroom
- Adjusting room service procedures
If a guest is denied a reservation for the reasons of self-quarantining, it is possible that they may check-in to another hotel without disclosing their circumstances.
Additional best-practices, operating procedures and considerations for dealing with hotel guests in isolation can be found here.
Q: Have there been any changes to payment requirements for WorkSafeBC premiums?
A: June 8, 2020 – WorkSafeBC announced that it is extending the deferral period for quarterly premium payments for an additional three months, without penalty or interest.
In order to ensure account balances are correct, employers were required to report their payroll for the first and second quarters by July 20, 2020.
Payments for the first and second quarters will not be due until October 20, 2020, when third-quarter payments are due.
Employers who report annually will not be impacted because they do not report payroll or pay premiums until March 2021.
Previously, on March 27 WorkSafeBC announced that first-quarter premiums were deferred until June 30, 2020, without penalty or interest.
- Website: worksafebc.com
Q: Will the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) have any impact on WorkSafeBC premiums?
A: WorkSafeBC is waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay).
WorkSafeBC recognizes the challenges employers are facing during this extraordinary time, and in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will waive premiums on wages paid to furloughed workers of employers receiving CEWS subsidies.
This change will be retroactive to the March 15, 2020 start date and continue for the duration of the CEWS program. Eligible employers will need to maintain documentation to identify workers that were furloughed as a result of this provincial health emergency.