Employers pivot from COVID-19 to communicable disease prevention as orders expire
As employers transition from COVID-19 safety plans to communicable disease prevention, WorkSafeBC is offering employers support.
The Provincial Health Officer in British Columbia announced on March 10 that the order requiring a COVID-19 Safety Plan would expire at 12:01 a.m. on April 8, 2022. This means that employers shift back to communicable disease prevention to manage the risks of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in the workplace.
Communicable disease prevention focuses on basic risk-reduction principles. The fundamental components of communicable disease prevention include:
- Implementing policies to support staff who have symptoms of a communicable disease, so they can avoid being at work when sick.
- Providing hand-hygiene facilities with appropriate supplies and using policies and signage to remind workers to wash their hands regularly and to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Maintaining a clean environment through routine cleaning processes that are appropriate for the industry and work practices.
- Ensuring building ventilation is adequate and ventilation systems are properly maintained and functioning as designed.
- Supporting employees in receiving vaccinations for COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable conditions.
During a period of elevated risk, employers will need to monitor and review communicable-disease-related information issued by the provincial health officer, or a medical health officer, including orders, guidance, notices and recommendations.
To support employers, a communicable disease prevention guide is available online that outlines the steps employers must take to prevent communicable disease in the workplace. This includes understanding the level of risk, implementing appropriate measures, communicating policies and protocols, and updating them as required.
Employers and workers can learn more about the workplace requirements to implement communicable disease prevention in OHS Guideline G-P2-21 Communicable disease prevention. Employers with questions can also call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line for assistance at: 1.888.621.7233.