On November 19, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued province-wide orders to all individuals, places of work and businesses in B.C. As such, all businesses should review and update their COVID-19 safety plan and incorporate the requirements of the new orders.
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.
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 other useful links to support you in reviewing and updating your COVID-19 safety plan:
- Provincial Health Officer (PHO) province-wide restrictions
- Provincial Health Officer (PHO) regional order for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Authority regions and guidance documents: general guidance, restaurants, all businesses
Specific guidance for:
Other important information and updates: