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GOING TO WORK

The last couple of months have been stressful for all of us. It's completely natural that you want to take a break from routine and change your scenery.

Let's see how we can make this safe for you and those around you.

FIRST, DO YOU LIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA?

THAT'S GREAT! WHILE A LOT OF THE INFORMATION ON HERE CAN BE USED BY INDIVIDUALS ACROSS CANADA, SOME OF THE INFORMATION IS MOST USEFUL FOR RESIDENTS OF BC.

NOT A PROBLEM! A LOT OF THE INFORMATION ON HERE CAN BE USED BY INDIVIDUALS ACROSS CANADA. HOWEVER, KEEP IN MIND THAT SOME OF THE INFORMATION IS MOST USEFUL FOR RESIDENTS OF BC.

ARE YOU FEELING SICK?

(This includes fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite.)

PLEASE STAY HOME AND FOLLOW SELF-ISOLATION PROCEDURES

Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to check your symptoms now and see if you need to get tested.

SO FAR, SO GOOD. HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS TO CONSIDER IF YOU ARE HEADING INTO THE OFFICE.

PHYSICAL

DISTANCING

  • Continue remote work arrangements wherever possible, especially for workplaces with individuals at higher risk of serious illness.

  • Check if your workplace uses adjustments like flexible work hours, staggered work times, etc.

  • Increase spatial separation between workstations, as well as between individuals.

  • For retail workspaces: showrooms and service operations are being modified to comply with regulations; check with your employer.

  • For hospitality workspaces: takeout/delivery options are widely used, with wide spacing between tables in the dining room; check with your employer.

WORKERS' RIGHTS

  • Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and all other workers at their workplace.

    • They are responsible for completing and posting the COVID-19 Safety Plan and to train and educate everyone at the workplace of the contents of the plan.​

    • Employers are also responsible for having a system in place to identify the hazards of COVID-19, mitigate risk, and monitor the effectiveness of preventative measures.

  • Workers are responsible for taking reasonable care to protect their own health and safety, and the health and safety of other workers at the workplace.

    • Workers are responsible for their own personal self-care, including frequent hand washing and staying home when sick.​

    • Workers are responsible for reporting unsafe conditions to their employer, and following the procedures put in place by the employer to control the risks associated with COVID-19.

WORKERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE WORK IF THEY BELIEVE THAT IT PRESENTS AN UNDUE HAZARD TO THEIR HEALTH AND SAFETY.

An undue hazard is an "unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate" hazard. For COVID-19, an "undue hazard" would be one where a worker's job places them at increased risk of exposure and adequate controls are not in place to protect them from that exposure.

If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor or employer must contact WorkSafeBC. Upon contact, a prevention officer will consult with workplace parties to determine whether there is an undue hazard and issue orders, if necessary.

WONDERING IF YOU HAVE TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE? HERE'S INFO FROM AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER.

LOOKING FOR OTHER STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19?

SAFETY INSTALLATIONS

  • Install physical barriers (e.g. high-walled cubicles, plexiglass) between reception/tellers/cashiers and customers, or on production lines.

  • Increasing ventilation if possible by adjusting the HVAC system or opening windows.

SOCIAL PLANNING

  • Require staff to stay home if they are sick (even mild illness).

  • Adopting or advocating for sick leave policies that enable ill workers to stay home.

  • Preventing the entry for sick customers or clients into the setting.

  • Discontinuing or severely limiting business travel.

  • Closing or restricting access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact.

  • Adopting contactless payment methods (with exceptions).

  • Providing special accommodations for vulnerable persons who are at higher risk of serious illness and/or those who live with vulnerable persons.

PPE AND MASKS

  • Using non-medical masks or cloth face coverings when physical distancing is not easy to maintain in the workplace (e.g. both a therapist or hairdresser and their client, or in a factory production line).