Returning to Work – Taking the Right Safety Measures
- 119 Views Health & Safety
- May 29, 2020
As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses either moved into a work from home format or closed operations for the time being. But now, reopening businesses is back on the table and a lot of preparations need to be made before it can even be actioned upon by employers. The future could hold a myriad of issues and concerns that employers need to account for.
Workplace health and safety in Ontario and much of Canada has taken precedent. In fact, authorities such as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety have published guidance sheets to help businesses to operate during the pandemic. It is imperative for employers to set up or modify their health and safety program with these considerations.
On-Site Sanitation Recommendations
- Employers must provide employees’ and all other staff access to hand washing stations with water, soap and paper towels or provide hand sanitizer. Employees must regularly use these facilities to wash their hands and maintain sanitation.
- Regularly clean offices, washrooms, shared facilities such as lunch/break rooms, trailers and more. High traffic areas and frequently touched spots should be wiped down as often as possible.
- Regularly clean shared tools, phones, and other devices with alcohol or disinfectant wipes.
- If vehicles are being shared or other transportation equipment, ensure that they are being sanitized after every use
Site Management with Physical Distancing
Physical or social distancing is highly recommended to prevent community spreading of the virus. As a result of this, all workspaces including offices, factories or construction sites will not be able to operate at full capacity. This may also lead to cross training employees so that others can cover if necessary.
It’s safe to say all of this will require a greater degree of coordination between employees and employers to ensure workplace health and safety in Ontario and other parts of Canada.
To effectively execute physical distancing, employers must consider the following:
- Distribute start times by scheduling limited workforce at different hours
- Ask employees to stay home if they are sick or might be sick and develop corporate policies so employees know what to expect when taking sick leave
- Distributes trades and their work locations, meetings, breaks, tool cribs, safety toolbox, seats during talks and orientations.
- Designate travel paths with clear signs on floors or walls to prevent employees from passing each other in common corridors and shared spaces
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers and also provide training on how to work with and care for their PPE
Consider Hiring Health and Safety Consultants in Ontario
If you’re unsure of how to conduct operations during these pandemic times, considering using the help of health and safety consultants in Ontario who can put together the right health and safety program for you.