Most workers in non-healthcare settings will not require PPE for protection against the COVID-19 virus unless they are in situations similar to health care workers. Non-PPE controls should be put into place by employers as often as possible.
Orders from the provincial Chief Medical Health Officer and support from the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety represent the minimum standard that employers must meet. To address COVID-19 health and safety concerns in the workplace, ask yourself the following questions:
1. How are you telling your workers about COVID-19 (i.e. exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace)?
2. Do you have a system in place where workers (including occupational health committee (OHC) or an occupational health and safety representative) can inform you of concerns relating to being exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace?
Find out if there are any specific tasks that concern them (e.g. tasks that involve interacting with others).
Identifying exposure hazards and developing measures to control exposure
3. What are you doing to prevent your workers from being exposed to COVID-19?
- Have you done a walk-through of your workplace to identify specific conditions or tasks that may increase the risk of exposure of your workers to COVID-19?
- Have you asked your workers (including your occupational health and safety committee or an occupational health and safety representative) where potential exposures may occur and how they think exposures can be controlled?
- Are tasks that require PPE necessary at this time or can they wait?
4. Have you developed controls that will eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure?
- What are those controls?
- Have you put them in place?
- How are they working (are they effective)?
- How do you know how they are working?
Controlling the number of people on site
5. How are you controlling the number of workers and other people at your workplace?
- Do all your workers need to come to work? Can some work from home?
- Can you stagger shifts to reduce the numbers present at one time?
- Are you ensuring there is adequate cleaning between shifts?
- Can you prioritize the work that needs to be done at the workplace to help your business operate as close to normal under the circumstances? This will require a determination of core work and where it can safely and productively be performed.
6. If you have workers who need to come to the workplace, how are you ensuring the following steps are being taken to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure? Different workplaces will have different needs, but the following steps are a good start:
- Workplaces may have physical barriers in place (e.g. drive-thru windows for customer service).
- Position workers to allow for physical distancing. Keep two metres between workers, as well as your customers.
- Provide soap and water or hand sanitizers, and encourage workers to wash their hands frequently.
- Enhance cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace, particularly high-contact items such as door handles, faucets, keyboards and shared equipment (e.g. photocopiers).
7. How are you checking and tracking whether the above steps are being taken?