The Automotive Retailers Association is focused on helping its members and staff keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation evolves, updates will be provided below with the newest information added on top:
From COVID-19 Safety Plans to communicable disease prevention
On June 17, 2021, the Provincial Health Officer issued a statement to employers on transitioning from COVID-19 Safety Plans to communicable disease prevention.
Prior to Step 3 of the restart plan, the expectation is that employers will continue to maintain and review their COVID-19 Safety Plans. Beginning with Step 3 (expected to start July 1), employers will no longer be required to maintain a COVID-19 Safety Plan, and will instead transition to communicable disease prevention.
Communicable disease prevention focuses on basic risk reduction principles to reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. The fundamental components of communicable disease prevention include both ongoing measures to maintain at all times and additional measures to be implemented as advised by Public Health.
- Implementing policies to support staff who may be sick with a communicable disease, so they can avoid being at the workplace.
- Promoting hand hygiene by providing hand-hygiene facilities with appropriate supplies, and reminding employees through policies and signage to wash their hands regularly.
- Maintaining a clean environment through routine cleaning processes.
- Ensuring building ventilation is properly maintained and functioning as designed.
- Supporting vaccination for vaccine-preventable conditions to the extent that you are able.
- Employers must also be prepared to implement additional prevention measures as required by a medical health officer or the provincial health officer to deal with communicable diseases in their workplace or region, should those be necessary.
To assist employers in the fundamental components of communicable disease prevention, WorkSafeBC has developed Communicable disease prevention: A guide for employers. This guide describes a four-step process to help employers reduce the risk of communicable disease in their workplace, which involves understanding the level of risk in the workplace, application of the fundamentals and implementing appropriate measures, communicating policies and protocols to all workers, and updating measures and safeguards as required.
- Download Communicable disease prevention: A guide for employers here.
The Provincial Health Officer’s statement recommends that employers maintain some of their existing COVID-19 Safety Plan protocols, specifically those that do not negatively impact business operations. This may include barriers already erected in the workplace or directional signage to reduce points of congestion, as examples. This will allow for a transitional period and progression from COVID-19 Safety Plans to communicable disease plans.
Responding to increased risk
Although COVID-19 is now being managed primarily through vaccination, like all communicable diseases, it may still circulate. Similarly, the level of risk of certain communicable diseases, including COVID-19, may elevate from time to time or on a seasonal basis. This may occur at a local or regional level, or within a workplace. In these cases, employers will be advised by medical health officers or the provincial health officer of the measures they need to take to manage the risk. Employers are required to monitor for communicable disease related information from their regional public health officials and the provincial health officer related to their area and industry and to follow that guidance and direction should additional measures be necessary in their workplace.
For more information
Visit WorkSafeBC’s website for more information and resources on communicable disease prevention and how to prepare for Step 3 of BC’s Restart.
For Step 3, public health has issued the following guidance:
- Mask wearing is recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.
- Fully vaccinated means 14-days after receiving your second dose.
- Some people may choose to continue to wear a mask that that’s ok – we all need to go at our own pace.
- The Face Coverings Order under the Emergency Program Act will be lifted and no proof of vaccination will be needed.
Employers may choose to implement mask policies for workers and/or members of the public that exceed the requirements of Public Health, including requiring all workers to wear masks.
An important part for employers to remember when establishing a PPE policy is that the first step is completing a risk assessment and moving through the hierarchy of controls.
As for right to refuse unsafe work, it is important for employers, supervisors and workers to remember that refusing unsafe work is a process. The worker must specifically state what the hazard is and what the risk(s) they are concerned about.
PHO to Focus on Dealership Workplace Health and Safety Amid Rise in COVID cases.
May 4, 2021 – Over the next few weeks, BC’s PHO will be ramping up workplace inspections. Dealerships have been identified as an area of concern and focus. You may be visited by a WorksafeBC officer to review your workplace COVID-19 health and safety plan over the next few weeks. Now would be a good time to review and update your plan. For more help and resources on how to develop your plan visit https://ohs.ara.bc.ca/news/ara-covid-19-updates.
WorkSafeBC Update April 8, 2021:
Today, the provincial health officer (PHO) announced an order delegating specific powers of the Public Health Act to WorkSafeBC prevention officers. The powers delegated to our prevention officers are limited to serving a closure order on a business with a known COVID-19 outbreak. The closure order will be in effect for a period of 10 days or more, as prescribed by the health authority’s medical health officer on a case-by-case basis, and served when directed to do so by a provincial medical health officer.
WorkSafeBC is providing this support to help the province manage the recent increase in COVID-19 cases. When serving the closure order, the WorkSafeBC prevention officer will engage the employer on a discussion regarding their COVID-19 safety plan and provide the employer with the Reviewing and Updating Your COVID-19 Safety Plan resource guide. The prevention officer will advise the employer that they should review and make improvements to their COVID-19 safety plan. Once the workplace has re-opened, the prevention officer will conduct an inspection to review the employer’s updated COVID-19 safety plan to ensure the employer is effectively implementing measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The increase in COVID-19 cases is an important reminder that all of us – employers, workers, industry, and stakeholders – have a shared responsibility to remain vigilant in supporting workplace health and safety during the pandemic. For more information on the most recent PHO order and how to keep workplaces healthy and safe, please refer to the following:
- The Ministry of Health for more information about the PHO order
- Your regional health authority for information about specific closure orders
- WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 website for resources and information on keeping workplaces safe, including information on the PHO order on our Inspections and consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic page
Webinar: COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety
An informative webinar, recorded on May 28, 2020. The key speaker, Chris Back from WorkSafeBC, presents important aspects of ensuring workplace health and safety for employees and customers alike. Click here to register and watch.