Update your COVID-19 Safety Plan to reflect the latest restrictions
On April 19, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Doctor Henry, announced an extension to the existing measures announced in March, in the ongoing efforts against COVID-19. In response to growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, particularly variants of concern, as well as an increase in hospitalizations, Doctor Henry announced that the strict “circuit breaker” measures would now remain in place until at least May 24, or as otherwise indicated by the PHO. They include an ongoing ban on inside dining and drinking and indoor, as well as indoor adult group fitness activities. Additionally, new travel restrictions are coming, designed to reduce the movement of people and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This will involve random roadside stops, to confirm that people are not leaving their own health authority region, and a halt to recreational ferry bookings. New border signs on the B.C./Alberta border will serve as a reminder that only essential travel is permitted.
The news comes after the recent announcement of an “expedited workplace closure order”, delegating specific powers to WorkSafeBC prevention officers, under the Public Health Act. The new powers permit WorkSafeBC prevention officers to serve a closure order on a business where three or more employees have contracted COVID-19 and it’s determined that transmission is occurring at the workplace. The delegation of these powers by the Provincial Health Officer is intended to help the province manage the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in workplaces and reinforce the existing province-wide restrictions.
All businesses should review and update their COVID-19 safety plans and continue to incorporate the requirements of the on-going and evolving orders into their operations.
To help businesses effectively review and update their COVID-19 safety plans, and in preparation for a potential inspection or consultation visit, WorkSafeBC has released a new guide for employers: Reviewing and Updating COVID-19 Safety Plans: A Guide for Employers
The guide was developed to:
- reflect and complement the format, steps and requirements of a COVID-19 safety plan;
- reinforce good safety management practices, including risk assessment, the involvement of workers and joint committees and ongoing review (these are all concepts in the COVID-19 safety plan and they are emphasized in this new guide); and,
- highlight the focus elements of the PHO orders: health screening, selection of appropriate protocols, encouraging workers to work from home and consideration of shared spaces, such as kitchens and break rooms. The risk of violence is also highlighted.
go2HR’s COVID-19 Safety Plan Review Service
go2HR has launched a new program to help B.C. tourism and hospitality businesses review their COVID-19 safety plan. Our health and safety experts will review your safety plan and provide recommendations and targeted feedback to help ensure ongoing compliance with current requirements. To register for this complimentary service, click here.
Workplace inspections and consultations:
Prevention officers are focusing on ensuring that workplace controls are effectively implemented and managed, that appropriate workplace protocols are in place, and that health screening is being conducted. When conducting an inspection or consultation visit within your business, an officer may seek confirmation of the following aspects of your COVID-19 safety plan:
Step 1: Assess the risks
Confirmation that the COVID-19 safety plan was developed based on a robust risk assessment process that considered areas where people congregate, including vehicles, work spaces, break rooms and washrooms.
Step 2: Implement protocols to reduce the risk
Confirmation that employers have selected and implemented protocols that address the risks in their workplace by following the hierarchy of controls (elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, personal protective equipment).
Step 3: Develop policies
Confirmation that employers are requiring health screening to ensure those with COVID-19 symptoms are prohibited from entering the workplace.
Step 4: Develop communication plans and training
Confirmation that the COVID-19 safety plan has been operationalized effectively through training, signage, communication and supervision.
Step 5: Monitor workplace and update plans as necessary
Confirmation that the COVID-19 safety plan has been reviewed and continually revised to keep pace with changes at the workplace since its original development and implementation.
Here are some useful links to support you in reviewing and updating your COVID-19 safety plan:
- Provincial Health Officer (PHO) province-wide restrictions
- Latest Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders
Specific guidance for:
Other important information and updates:
- Controlling exposure – information about applying appropriate controls in the workplace, including considerations in the use of masks
- Mandatory masks
- Worker health checks
- Revised entry check poster for workers
- Revised entry check poster for visitors
- More COVID-19 health and safety resources
- COVID-19 FAQs
- WorkSafeBC- Five Steps to Developing and Managing your COVID-19 Safety Plan