WORKSAFEBC announced on Thursday that it will have an increased presence at workplaces across B.C. ahead of the upcoming spring break period and St. Patrick’s Day to remind businesses they must have measures and controls in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
WorkSafeBC will be inspecting and consulting with businesses throughout the month of March when many families participate in spring break activities. The initiative will focus primarily on overnight and short-term accommodation, food and leisure services, amusement facilities, sports and entertainment facilities, ski hills, and golf courses.
WorkSafeBC will also be launching an initiative focused on bars, pubs and restaurants ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
“With spring break and St. Patrick’s Day both taking place this month, we want to ensure employers and workers are again ready for a potential increase in people coming to their workplaces,” said Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services for WorkSafeBC. “We’re reminding businesses to make sure they have an up-to-date COVID-19 safety plan in place, that it’s understood by all staff, and that it’s being implemented effectively.”
All employers in B.C. are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that assesses risks to workers and implements measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. The plan must be reviewed and updated as conditions change.
To assist employers, WorkSafeBC has developed the resource: Reviewing and updating your COVID-19 safety plan: A guide for employers, available at worksafebc.com.
“The vast majority of businesses in B.C. are taking COVID-19 safety very seriously and want to be in compliance,” said Johnson. “But we’ve also seen some employers let their safety plan become dated — where it no longer reflects the latest PHO orders or changing conditions — and this is an important focus area for our prevention officers.”
Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and this includes doing everything reasonably possible to ensure customer compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and orders, including maintaining physical distance and wearing masks as required.
* As of March 5, WorkSafeBC had conducted 24,221 workplace inspections and 4,494 consultations related to COVID-19. A total of 2,232 orders had been issued for health and safety violations.
* In spring of last year, WorkSafeBC worked with employer groups to develop protocols for more than 30 industries to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Last month, WorkSafeBC launched an awareness campaign to support workplace health and safety. The province-wide, multi-language campaign focuses on several specific actions workers and employers need to take to keep workplaces safe from COVID-19.