OHS Canada Magazine

WorkSafeBC increasing workplace COVID-19 inspections during May long weekend


WorkSafeBC will be stepping up inspections at workplaces located in potential COVID-19 hotspots over the May long weekend. The purpose of the inspection initiative is to remind businesses they must have measures and controls in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

“Hopefully, we’re in the home stretch of the pandemic as greater numbers of British Columbians get vaccinated, but we can’t let our guard down,” says Al Johnson, head of prevention services at WorkSafeBC.

“Initial vaccinations offer an added layer of protection, but it’s still important that workers and employers stay focused on COVID-19 safety — that means continuing to follow your workplace COVID-19 safety plan, as well as provincial health orders, to protect yourself and others.”

WorkSafeBC’s inspectional focus will primarily be on restaurants, pubs and breweries with outdoor patios. The majority of inspections will take place in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

All employers in B.C. are required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses risks to workers and implements measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. The plan must be reviewed and updated as conditions change.

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To assist employers, WorkSafeBC has developed the resource: Reviewing and updating your COVID-19 safety plan: A guide for employers, available at worksafebc.com.

“We know that the majority of B.C. businesses are working very hard to keep their workers and customers safe from COVID-19 transmission,” says Johnson. “With the long weekend and warmer weather, we want to make sure employers and workers are prepared for a potential increase in customers.”

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and this includes doing everything reasonably possible to ensure customer compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and orders, including maintaining physical distance and wearing masks as required.

Key Facts

  • As of May 15, 2021, WorkSafeBC has conducted 27,635 COVID-related inspections and 4,939 consultations.
  • A total of 3,199 COVID-19-related orders have been issued for health and safety violations.
  • WorkSafeBC has received 35,194 COVID-19-related enquiries to its Prevention Information Line since the start of the pandemic.