RICHMOND: WorkSafeBC announced that it will be supporting B.C. employers as they reactivate their COVID-19 safety plans. These efforts follow the Provincial Health Officer’s order that COVID-19 safety plans will be required by all employers currently operating in B.C.
A COVID-19 Safety Plan involves a multi-step process to assess the risks of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace and to introduce measures to reduce those risks.
“Fortunately, employers in B.C. are experienced with COVID-19 safety plans and they now need to reactivate their plan by reviewing and updating it for the current environment,” says Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC.
To support employers and workers, WorkSafeBC is posting COVID-19 safety plan resources online, including sector-specific protocols, checklists, planning templates, education and training materials, signage, and other tools. These resources are available at: worksafebc.com.
WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 Safety Plan template has been updated to allow for the consideration of elements such as symptom management, rapid testing and vaccinations.
Evidence shows that vaccination is the best control measure available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. WorkSafeBC advises B.C. employers to consider staff-vaccination policies based on their own due diligence.
COVID-19 safety plans also benefit when employers involve workers in its development and implementation.
“We encourage employers to involve their workers as much as possible when updating their safety plan, which can then be applied by workers throughout the workplace,” says Johnson.
Should workers and employers have questions or require additional assistance in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission at their workplace, they can call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 1-888-621-7233 to speak directly with a prevention officer.
Earlier in the pandemic, employers were asked to create and implement detailed COVID-19 safety plans. Those plans were replaced by a more general focus on communicable disease prevention on July 1, 2021 as the province began to reopen. On Jan. 7, 2022, the PHO stated that workplaces are required to reinstate those site-specific, prescriptive COVID-19 safety plans to address the elevated risk currently facing B.C. from the Omicron variant.