The Ontario Government recently released an online guide to assist employers in developing safety plans as employees begin to return to work across the Province. The guide offers employers advice on preventing the spread of COVID-19 and on better protecting workers, customers and clients, and contains information on the use of face coverings, on what personal protective equipment may be required at certain workplaces, and on putting controls in place to mitigate the risks related to COVID-19. The guide was developed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in consultation with provincial health and safety associations, and is yet another resource available online to help protect the health and safety of workers.
The guide is accompanied by a template that can be downloaded and filled in to create a safety plan tailor-made to a workplace. The template poses the following six questions in order to aid employers in identifying and responding to workplace-specific issues:
- How will you ensure all workers know how and are able to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?
- How will you screen for COVID-19?
- How will you control the risk of transmission in your workplace?
- What will you do if there is a potential case, or suspected exposure to, COVID-19 at your workplace?
- How will you manage any new risks caused by changes to the way you operate your business?
- How will you make sure your plan is working?
As well as offering additional considerations to help employers answer each question, the template instructs employers to list the actions that will be taken in response to each answer and to list the individual/position responsible for the performance of each action.
Employers are urged to create, discuss and share their safety plans before their workers return to work, and to review and update their plans regularly. The intention is that each safety plan will be posted in a conspicuous place, where it can be easily accessed and read by workers, customers, clients and any other people entering the workplace.
If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing a safety plan of your own, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.