“Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their worksite and implements measures to keep their workers safe,” says Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC. “We’ve developed both general and industry-specific materials in consultation with industry and labour stakeholders to ensure they are practical and understandable for workplaces in each sector.”
Guidelines and resources are now available for the following sectors:
- Restaurants, cafes, pubs
- Salons and personal services
- Real estate
- Arts and cultural facilities (Museums, art galleries, and libraries)
- Education K-12
- Parks and outdoor spaces
- Health services
- In-person counselling
- Office space
Sector-specific guidelines for child care and recreation and sports will be available in the coming days.
WorkSafeBC has also developed general resources intended for all workplaces, to go along with the protocols for specific industries. These include a COVID-19 safety plan template, workplace posters, information on cleaning and hygiene practices, and guidance on the selection and use of masks.
According to WorkSafeBC, employers that they do not need to submit their safety plan for review or approval.
To make sure employers have plans in place and are keeping workers safe, WorkSafeBC Prevention Officers will begin a province-wide verification and inspection initiative.
“The planning process should involve workers for their input to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed,” said Johnson.
These new guidelines and resources go hand-in-hand with the provincial government’s multi-phased plan to restart the economy. As B.C. executes the plan and eventually moves on to the next phases, WorkSafeBC will continue to develop information and resources for employers.
Any workers or employers with questions or require more assistance in reducing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace. can call the WorkSafeBC Prevention Information Line at 1-888-621-7233.
WorkSafeBC is also launching an awareness campaign in support of workplace health and safety as restrictions are lifted and more businesses resume operations.
The organization says the province-wide, multi-language campaign, featured on the radio, TV, signs and web, “will focus on how healthy and safe workplaces contribute to a safe and healthy province.”
Businesses in Victoria are advocating for city council to allow them to use public spaces, like sidewalks, to expand their space and allow for a higher capacity as stores start to reopen.