WorkSafeBC requires every employer to have a COVID-19 safety plan.
COVID-19 safety plans:
- describe how COVID-19 might be introduced or transmitted at your workplace (such as shared spaces, tools, or activities done in close proximity to others.)
- describes the measures the employer has put in place to minimize the risk of transmission to you while you work.
WorkSafeBC requires employers to involve frontline workers, supervisors, and joint health and safety (JOHS) committees and/or worker representatives when creating the safety plan. WorkSafeBC also recommends that the workplace continue to be assessed to ensure risks are identified and managed.
WorkSafeBC has developed a COVID-19 Safety Plan template to assist employers and JOHS Committees with this work.
The Provincial Health Officer ordered that the COVID-19 safety plans be:
- posted on the employer's website, if they have one
- posted at the workplace so that it is readily available for review by workers, other persons who may attend at the workplace to provide services, and members of the public;
- provided to a health officer or a WorkSafeBC officer, on request.
Read the full COVID-19 Safety Plan Provincial Order.
- What can HEU members do to assist with COVID-19 safety plans?
Your site's Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) worker representatives can participate in activities such as inspections, risk assessments and discussions with workers, to identify where they see risks for transmission, including:
- Places where people gather, such as break rooms, locker rooms, or meeting rooms.
- Tasks or activities that require workers to come into close proximity with one another, or with members of the public, visitors, patients, residents or clients. This can occur in your workplace, in worker vehicles, or at other work locations (if your workers travel offsite as part of their jobs).
- Tools, machinery, and equipment people share in the course of their work.
- Surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, equipment, med carts, food and laundry carts, ceiling lift buttons, and shared tools.
JOHSC members can also participate in other ways such as:
- speaking with workers about their COVID-19 concerns and raise them to problem solve at the committee meetings
- making recommendations on measures and procedures for eliminating or limiting exposure such as proper hygiene, cleaning measures, physical distancing, staying home when feeling ill, education and training on infection control measures and PPE requirements
- making recommendations on resources where workers can use to get more information on how to protect themselves ie: Physically and psychologically.
- checking that control measures are in place and working, such as visitor screening, barriers at nursing stations, and that workers know what PPE they need, how to put it on and off, and know where to get it
- checking that safety plans are posted
- checking provisions for communicating the plan – is it clear? is it provided in a way that is easy for workers to access? is it provided in a timely manner to all workers?
- checking in with workers to see if they have the information, instruction and training they need, and know who can they ask if more is needed.
- knowing where to access the employer’s infection control plans, and who to contact if workers have questions and concerns, and sharing that with workers
- monitoring and communicating the status of changing information re: outbreak, PPE, etc.
- If your JOHS Committee is not meeting
The BC Workers Compensation Act (WCA) requires employers to establish a joint health and safety committee in workplaces with 20 or more workers. The Act also states that the joint committee must meet regularly at least once each month.
During the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever for JOHS Committees to meet and discuss COVID-19-related OHS issues they are dealing with in their workplace.
We are hearing from HEU members that some employers are telling JOHS committees that their monthly committee meetings are cancelled or suspended until further notice.
HEU has learned from WorkSafeBC that this is not the case. WorkSafeBC expects that committees will continue to meet monthly just as the legislation sets out.
If your JOHS committee has been cancelled please report this to the WorkSafeBC Prevention Line and ask for an action request claim number.
phone: 604.276.3100 (Lower Mainland)
Toll-free: 1.888.621.7233 (1.888.621.SAFE) (Canada)
Also, email email@example.com and let us know that you have called WorkSafeBC to report.