Exposure Control

Do you know the potentially riskiest points for transmission of COVID-19 in a manufacturing plant?

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation and the Workers Compensation Act do not require employers to implement health monitoring for COVID-19, such as checking temperatures or recording symptoms. Some employers may consider incorporating health monitoring into their COVID-19 policies. Employers may wish to get advice from an employment lawyer about how to balance workplace safety, human rights, and privacy issues before implementing such monitoring into their COVID-19 policy.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of workers. As part of this, employers must develop policies and procedures that address how to eliminate or minimize the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19 in their workplace (OHSR 5.2). They must ensure these are communicated to everyone at the workplace and that workers and supervisors are trained in their responsibilities and rights, and the COVID-19 policies and procedures should be applied fairly and consistently.

The gathering and use of employees' medical information is typically private and confidential and it is governed by Employment Law, including privacy and human rights law in an employment context, and is outside of our jurisdiction. As much as we would like to be helpful and provide advice on such questions, we cannot properly do so. The advice we can provide to employers about medical information (which is typically private and confidential) is limited to the employer's obligations to provide that information in the OHS context (e.g. EIIR, inspections).

If an employee's temperature exceeds 37.8, the employee should not be allowed to enter the workplace, and should contact a physician to be tested. However, keep in mind that only 30% of symptomatic COVID cases include fever; your screening process should address other recognized symptoms (cold/flu or gastrointestinal symptoms, loss of sense of smell) as well.

No. There are many possible scenarios. It may be wise to engage the services of an occupational health expert to address individual cases to ask for detailed medical specifics in strict confidence so as to advise the employer of appropriate steps to be taken in the workplace or regarding the eventual return to work of the employee.

The most common symptoms is a dry cough, soar throats and fever plus symptoms like full-body aches and fatigue – similar to flu-like illness. Some have the symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.