Have policies in place
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Orders issued by the Medical Officer of Health and your local municipality means that many commercial businesses, services, and indoor public spaces require the wearing of masks for entry. Businesses and organizations are required to develop and enforce a policy whereby employees and patrons must wear a mask or face covering when inside spaces covered under the respective orders. For more details about the orders and exemptions, visit the Face Masks and Coverings webpage.
Develop the necessary policies to manage entry of all individuals into your workplace, including policies around who can be at the workplace, screening prior to entering the workplace, how to address illness that arises at the workplace, and how workers can be kept safe in adjusted working conditions. The Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) Return to the Workplace Roadmap is a framework intended to assist employers in building a dynamic and sustainable return to the workplace plan in three stages: planning, implementation, and operational stage. The PSHSA also created the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Policy template that can be used by workplaces as they implement the relevant measures and policies to keep employees safe. It outlines the general responsibilities of workplaces, employers, supervisors, and workers in terms of the procedures required to control the spread of infection in the workplace.
Employers should ensure that all employees complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment before entering the workplace or reporting for work.
How to Report Illness
If experiencing symptoms, workers should remain at home, inform their supervisors, and complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for further direction. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the WECHU will follow up with the employee, the employer, and all close contacts of the individual to advise them on next steps for testing, isolation, and how to keep themselves and others safe. Positive cases of COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days from onset of symptoms. At the end of the two weeks, provided they have been symptom free for 48 hours or longer, individuals would be able to return to work ensuring that they are following COVID-19 infection prevention practices in line with all public health recommendations. Individual workplaces can create their own guidelines and policies regarding return to work for their employees as long as they are not less restrictive then the public health guidance.
Review Health & Safety Policies and Building Sanitation Practices
Reviewing health and safety policies as well as existing building sanitation practices is especially important for buildings that have been closed for an extended period of time. The Building Owners and Managers Association’s COVID-19 – Building Extended Closure Checklist provides building-specific maintenance and cleaning considerations for businesses and workplaces preparing to reopen for the first time since the provincial Emergency Orders were enacted. Some items on the checklist include:
- Security system checks, first aid supplies
- Ventilation and HVAC checks
- Drinking water systems checks (flush your water line and contact Enwin or your water utility provider if you have questions. If you are a Small Drinking Water System contact ext. 4475)
- Rodent and pest droppings cleaned and removed appropriately
- Expired food product checked – there may have been a power failure when the business was closed, you should discard items if you are unsure.
The Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ Pathogen Decontamination Checklist provides guidance in infection prevention and control practices to facilities that are preparing to resume operations without compromising the health and safety of staff and clients.