With vaccines rolling out for 2021, businesses that have been vacant, for the better part of 2020, are now preparing to re-enter the workplace and making it as safe as possible. As the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development says, “All workers have the right to return home each day safe and sound” and having a safe workplace plan to limit transmission or exposure to COVID dangers is imperative.
So if you’re wondering what your work space needs to do in order to protect your employees or aid your employer in keeping your team safe, we’ve got you covered! Here are some steps you can take to build out your safety plan.
Step #1: Increase Your Screening
The first step would be to put a screening plan in place to ensure that anyone entering your work space is healthy enough to not endanger others. You can download this link for the Service Ontario Screening PDF in French or English for your employees. If your work space is opening to include customers, you can also use this Service Ontario Customer Screening PDF for your customers as well, available in both languages.
While these screenings are helpful, they cannot diagnose someone. If you have medical questions, consult a healthcare provider and follow along their guidelines. Be prepared for when workers must self-isolate to rescreen anyone they’ve been exposed to to ensure that others are taking the same precautions.
Step #2: Ensure Social Distancing
Keeping your distance from others is crucial at these times; to ensure social distancing; you can implement some of the following tips:
- Limit the amount of people in your space - maybe at the beginning of re-entering the workplace, limit it to a certain percentage of your team and rotate it on a non-conflicting schedule.
- If you have customers in store, limit it as well to a certain percentage while lineups can happen outside the door.
- Use a thermometer to ensure that symptoms like fever can be checked before entering any workspace.
- Keep a distance of two metres between people.
- Assign workers to workstations that are at least two metres apart to ensure that the social distancing is happening with the workers as well.
Step #3: Wear the Right Protection
Wearing a mask is critical indoors; ensuring that your employees are provided instruction to wear masks properly and constantly is of the utmost importance. The supervision to ensure all workers wear masks also includes rules for while eating and drinking. If you’d like to review what the exact protocols are for your industry, you can review the precaution guidelines here for your preferred sector.
Masks worn as PPE are meant to protect the people wearing them. We offer high-quality medical grade masks like N95 masks that provide you with a better fit and better protection. They are also approved for use in healthcare and for workplace safety, while filtering ≥ 95% of airborne particles.
A mask should securely cover the nose and mouth and fit closely to the face without gaps. A nose piece that can be molded to conform to the face may be helpful to ensure a close fit.
Using a mask should not introduce any new health or safety hazards into the workplace such as masks getting caught in machinery or restricting vision.
When choosing what type of mask to use in your workplace, consider:
- The purpose of the mask (source control and/or personal protection equipment)
- Mask qualities that impact your workers’ ability to wear it when needed, for as long as needed (for example, breathability, comfort and durability)
Another workplace step would be to ventalize and sanitize repeatedly; consider the policies and procedures you can put in place to make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting and keeping the workplace as free of the virus as possible. The public health recommendation is to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at least thrice a day.
Air out the spaces around you as the transmission risk is higher in more enclosed and crowded spaces. Coming up with a safety plan to keep your workers and customers safe is pivotal in keeping people healthy but while you can take all of the precautions in the world, people can still get affected.
Contact your local public health unit for guidance on what to do if someone develops symptoms at your workplace or you are told one of your workers has COVID-19. Public health will provide instructions and do contact tracing if needed. To support contact tracing, have a system in place so you can provide information about which people had close interactions with an affected worker. This could include information such as:
- Dates and times of interactions
- Approximate length and frequency of interactions
- Full names
- Contact telephone numbers
- Addresses (for workers) or the name of the visitor’s business
If you need additional information on creating the best workspace plan, you can check out the complete rulebook here. If you don’t know where to start in purchasing wholesale PPE equipment, we’re here to help! Click on the Contact Us page here, fill out the form and we’ll get back to you!