To help stop the spread of COVID-19, everyone should comply with requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and with associated regulations and public health directives issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Protecting yourself and your co-workers:
Coronaviruses are spread through close contact with others. Here are some helpful tips to help prevent the spread of germs at home or in the workplace:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Sanitize often, between each transaction if possible.
- Wash or sanitize hands after making or receiving deliveries.
- Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
- If you use a tissue, discard immediately and wash your hands afterward.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid high-touch areas, where possible, or ensure you clean your hands afterwards.
- Where possible, wear gloves when interacting with high-touch areas. Do not touch your face with gloved hands. Take care when removing gloves. Ensure you wash your hands after removing them.
- Wash your clothes as soon as you get home.
- If you are ill: notify your supervisor immediately, complete the self-assessment and follow the instructions.
Physical distancing (two meters):
As advised by the Chief Medical Officer and public health officials physical distancing is required to control the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Here are some tips employers can use to help ensure physical distancing in the workplace:
- Minimize contact with customers.
- Maintain a safe distance while handing goods and taking payment, minimize or eliminate handling of cash and eliminate at-the-door payment methods.
- Assign staff to ensure customers are maintaining safe physical distances in congested areas like entrances/exits and check-outs.
- Add floor markings and barriers to manage traffic flow and physical distancing.
- Do not accept re-usable bags or containers that are to be handled by your staff.
- Install barriers between staff and customers; this can include plexiglass or markings on the floor to ensure at least 2 meters between customer and cashier.
- Stagger start times, shifts, breaks, and lunch times.
- Restrict the number of people on-site and where they are assigned to work.
- Control site movement (by limiting the potential for workers to gather).
- Limit the number of people working in one space at the same time.
- Minimize the number of people using each piece of equipment in instances where sharing equipment cannot be avoided.
- Hold meetings in an outside or large space.
- Limit unnecessary on-site interaction between workers, and with outside service providers.
Coronaviruses are spread person to person through close contact. While employers always have an obligation to maintain clean worksites, that obligation is under sharper focus due to COVID-19.
Here are some tips for employers to use:
- Provide ways to properly clean hands, by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Provide employees with hand sanitizer for their use only.
- Have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the workplace and after contact with surfaces others have touched.
- Include handwashing before breaks and at shift changes.
- Provide a safe place for customers to dispose of used sanitizing wipes and personal protective equipment.
- Clean washroom facilities.
- Sanitize commonly-touched surfaces or areas such as entrances, counters, washrooms and kitchens.
- Sanitize shared equipment (where sharing of equipment cannot be avoided).
- Post hygiene instructions in English or French and the majority workplace language so everyone can understand how to do their part.
- Introduce more fresh air by increasing the ventilation system’s air intake or opening doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible.
Adjust onsite and production schedules:
Lowering staff levels on job sites may be required to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Employers should look at how they can adjust their production schedules to support physical distancing, where possible.
Here are some tips for employers to follow:
- Limit the number of workers to critical number by staggering work schedules.
- Consider job rotation.
- Postpone projects and tasks that don’t need to be done now.
- Reschedule any unnecessary visits to the workplace by supply chain partners, vendors or others who don’t need to be there now.
- Ensure sanitation of sites and workspaces.
- Carry out site planning to facilitate appropriate physical distancing between workers.
- Establish rules for any work that requires workers within two metres of each other. This could include full personal protective equipment.
- Offer work-site mobility and transportation, including hoist operations.
Track your workforce:
Due to the delayed period of COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread, it is important to track where workers have been. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the local public health unit will ask employers to provide information on where the employee worked as well as the contact information of any other employee who may have been exposed. Employers will provide that information and Public Health Units will respond.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other illnesses, including the cold and flu. At this time, it is recommended that any worker who has symptoms related to cold, flu or COVID-19 be sent home. Public Health Ontario has provided helpful guidance on self-monitoring and self-isolation.
In addition, employers should advise these workers to complete the online self-assessment or call either:
- Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000
- their primary care provider (for example, family physician)
CKL Health Unit Order:
On April 14, 2020, the local Medical Officer of Health issued the following Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order is designed to protect the health of local residents by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
The order applies to ALL persons in the City of Kawartha Lakes who:
- are identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19
- have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test
- otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19, or
- are a close contact of a person identified in the above points.
As of April 14, 2020 at noon, you must:
- Isolate yourself without delay as instructed by the HKPR District Health Unit. This includes: remaining in your home or isolation facility. Do not go outside, unless on to a private balcony or enclosed yard where you can avoid close contact with others. You must not have any visitors into your home except as permitted by the Health Unit.
- Remain in isolation until the expiry of a 14-day period that begins on the day on which you first show symptoms, are tested, or are diagnosed with COVID-19 (whichever is earliest, or on the last day of close contact). Follow these guidelines unless instructed otherwise by the Health Unit.
- During the self-isolation period, reduce exposure to others to prevent the spread of infection or potential infection from COVID-19. Follow infection control instructions on the HKPR District Health Unit website (www.hkpr.on.ca) or those given to you by the Health Unit or any other staff of a healthcare facility to which you may seek or receive treatment.
- Keep away from vulnerable persons. Follow any further instructions provided by the Health Unit pertaining to COVID- 19. In particular, you should seek clinical assessment over the phone – either by calling your primary care provider’s office or Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario will direct you to in-person care options.
- Seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens by calling 911 and telling responders of your COVID-19 related diagnosis or symptoms.
Workers with COVID-19:
If you believe one of your workers may have COVID-19 or has tested positive for the disease, you should conduct a risk assessment.
Based on the results, ministry inspectors may require the employer to:
- inform co-workers who were exposed and send those workers home for two weeks
- ask those workers to self-isolate and self-monitor and report any COVID-like illness to their employer
- shut down the job site while the affected workplace and equipment are disinfected
- implement other measures based on the advice of public health officials
Getting information on infection prevention and control:
Employers can contact local public health units for questions on workplace infection prevention and control related to COVID-19 infections.
It is important that all parties in a workplace communicate their roles and responsibilities. Employers must ensure health and safety policies are updated and posted for all workers to see. Using industry resources, including the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), will improve on-site understanding.
Post your policies:
All employers must post and communicate COVID-19 policies to workers.
These policies should cover how the workplace will operate, including, but not limited to:
- the sanitization of the workplace
- how workers report illnesses
- how to ensure physical distancing
- how work will be scheduled
- screening measures
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development reporting requirements:
If an employer is advised that a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 due to exposure at the workplace, or that a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the employer is required to notify:
- the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days
- the workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative
- a trade union (if applicable)