COVID-19

Updates for Manufacturers in BC
LAST UPDATED: 3/27/2020, 6:10:26 PM

Food companies boost employee pay during COVID-19 outbreak

PLANT | Advancing Canadian Manufacturing
March 25, 2020 | Some of Canada’s food processors joined other companies in increasing pay for hourly staff working hard to ensure the country’s food supply remains strong during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contingency planning: Crisis provides new clarity for automation

Manufacturing Automation
March 25, 2020 | Three digital capabilities that can help manufacturers protect their supply chains, their customers and themselves during a disaster

Message from WorkSafeBC on deferring Q1 2020 premiums by three months

WorkSafeBC
March 25, 2020 | WorkSafeBC has decided to allow employers to defer payment of their Q1 2020 premiums by three months.

Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a lot of questions about COVID-19 and your workplace. We’ll do our best to answer those concerns here.

Ask an Advisor

Feel free to ask us questions on any OHS topic.

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For Employers

As an employer, your duty and focus is to take action to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of the virus.

  1. Isolate the worker.

If an employee shows any of the signs of COVID-19, the employee has a responsibility to stay home, and to notify their employer. For specific advice, they should call HealthLinkBC at 811 to speak to a nurse.

If the employee is tested and receives a negative result, the employee must have a doctor’s approval to return to work. The doctor may request that the employee complete a 14-day self-isolation regardless of the results.

If the employee tests positive, the employee must seek medical treatment immediately and remain in quarantine until approved by a doctor to safely return to work.

What is involved in self-isolation? See Testing and Isolation.

  1. Contain the exposure.

Take immediate steps to identify the extent of potential exposure in your facility. Any employee who has been in close contact with the worker in the past X days should also be sent home to self-isolate, monitoring themselves for signs of infection, for 14 days, or until the ill employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result.

  1. Sterilize the workplace

Ensure a proper infection control cleaning protocol is implemented to clean and sterilize the potentially contaminated work area(s). Follow these directions from the Centre for Disease Control.

  1. Communicate clearly

Gossip and fear spread quickly. The best solution is to communicate clearly, quickly, and frequently, explaining the situation and the control measures you have put in place to keep employees safe.

  1. Enhance the measures you already have in place to prevent the spread of infection

The CDC recommends the following:

Cleaning: Consider increasing the frequency of routine cleaning. If you are cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily, increase to twice a day using the same products.

Space: Consider the density of your business and provide additional space for customers and employees to interact. For example:

Consider how line ups, seating, or workstation setup can be expanded so that people are able to put 2 metres of space between one another.

  • Avoid visiting another area or department to ask a question; use the phone instead.
  • As much as possible, establish separate, clean entrances and exits for your building and key work areas to avoid congestion.
  • Consider how you could adjust your schedule to reduce the number of staff in an area at once, and to keep crews separate from each other—to reduce the risk of exposure if someone becomes ill.
  • Hand hygiene: Ensure your washrooms and hand-washing stations are always stocked with soap and consider offering hand sanitizer at entrances. Ensure that staff have clear instructions for hand hygiene, including glove use if required.

    Communication: Show your customers and employees what you are doing to support the work to slow transmission of this virus by communicating online and at your place of business.

    Employees who feel unwell: Support your employees to stay home if they are sick.

    1. Need more help? Call 811 and follow the instructions.

    Wait times can be long, but keep trying—or consider using the non-medical information COVID-19 line available from 7:30am-8pm at 1-888-COVID19.

  • This physical distancing (social distancing) requirement has been issued by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) as an important measure to control the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • This requirement mirrors what would be expected by WorkSafeBC as a risk control employers should have in place under the provisions of the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and as such, is required in manufacturing workplaces and other businesses that remain open.
  • For those businesses that are permitted to remain open, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has required the physical distancing of two metres where possible between workers.

    Employers may need to assess those parts of a production area where this is a challenge and may need to modify their operations accordingly (i.e., temporarily shutting down areas of non-critical operations where physical distancing is not possible).

    Employers are expected to implement all reasonable steps to ensure physical distancing practices are implemented in their workplace in accordance with the PHO’s direction.

    See: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/employers-businesses

    Refer to the BC Centre of Disease Control Environmental Health Officer

    Employers must inform all workers about the importance of not coming to work if they are sick or have symptoms. Once a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, a Public Health Officer will provide instructions for the workplace on what must be done. It is possible that the workplace will be closed temporarily for deep cleaning and then reopen once it is safe to do so.

    http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19

    Refer to BC Centre of Disease Control Environmental Health Officer.

    (http://www.bccdc.ca/our-services/service-areas/environmental-health-services)

    At this point, workers should be utilizing the system checker and call 811 to confirm what actions they should be taking, especially when they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in their home, as they are at high risk of exposure and may be required to self-isolate based on recommendations from 811.

    See WorkSafeBC guidance: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/news-events/announcements/2020/March/covid-19-and-the-workplace

    Once a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the public health office will conduct an investigation and will communicate instructions to the employer for what they must do next. As part of their investigation, they will be questioning others in the workplace to identify those who were in close contact with the individual.

    If a worker suspects they may be infected, the BC CDC website has a COVID-19 Self-assessment tool (https://covid19.thrive.health/) and depending on the answers, it will provide next steps.

    WorkSafeBC expects employers to be taking all reasonable steps to comply with the Public Health Officer (PHO) orders and requirements to protect their workers in addition to their responsibilities under the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

    Watch for further guidance soon from WorkSafeBC to employers on what officers will be looking for in workplaces with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    For Employees

    If you have been in close contact with someone who has (or suspects they may have) a COVID-19 infection, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommends you self-isolate at home for 14 days, watching for new signs or symptoms of infection. These may include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and in some cases, gastrointestinal issues.

    Take your temperature each day and avoid the use of fever-reducing medications (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.) as much as possible, as these can mask the early signs of an infection. If you need to take any of these medications, advise your healthcare provider and ask for further direction.

    If you develop any of these symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help decide whether you need to contact a doctor.

    Upcoming Events

    As part of our commitment to keep our staff safe and to slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Canada, many of the Alliance staff are working remotely. However, our advisors are available to talk by phone, email or online, so please reach out for any support or questions you may have. Some events attract a larger crowd and we are evaluating each event on a one by one basis. The following upcoming events may have had their status changed due to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

    Resources

    We are committed to helping our members through the COVID-19 pandemic with support, information and resources relevant to manufacturers and food processors. If you have a specific question about occupational health and safety in your workplace, please contact us at manufacturing@safetyalliancebc.ca

    Using disinfectants correctly

    The correct use of disinfectant will help control the spread of COVID-19.

    SOURCE
    Made Safe

    Food companies boost employee pay during COVID-19 outbreak

    Some of Canada’s food processors joined other companies in increasing pay for hourly staff working hard to ensure the country’s food supply remains strong during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SOURCE
    PLANT | Advancing Canadian Manufacturing

    Contingency planning: Crisis provides new clarity for automation

    Three digital capabilities that can help manufacturers protect their supply chains, their customers and themselves during a disaster

    SOURCE
    Manufacturing Automation

    Message from WorkSafeBC on deferring Q1 2020 premiums by three months

    WorkSafeBC has decided to allow employers to defer payment of their Q1 2020 premiums by three months.

    SOURCE
    WorkSafeBC

    Emergency Program Act: Province takes unprecedented steps to support COVID-19 response

    BC using extraordinary powers under a state of provincial emergency to keep British Columbians safe, maintain essential goods and services, and support the ongoing response to COVID-19.

    SOURCE
    BC Government

    List of essential services in BC

    Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives.

    SOURCE
    BC Government

    N95 masks in full production as world faces further COVID-19 spread

    Companies across North America have begun extensive productions and distribution of protective face masks as COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide.

    SOURCE
    OHS Canada

    Cybersecurity for the home-based worker

    Fortinet's Derek Manky offers some advice to businesses who are faced with the prospect of most, if not all, of their staff working from home

    SOURCE
    Canadian Manufacturing

    Flattening the curve: Advice for business leaders on slowing the spread of COVID-19

    Suzanne Bernier, a crisis management expert, shares best practices for how to navigate through a pandemic

    SOURCE
    Manufacturing Automation

    B.C. distilleries now permitted to make hand sanitizer in fight against virus

    Beginning this week, B.C. distilleries will also be allowed to start making hand sanitizer, to help in the fight against COVID-19.

    SOURCE
    Vancouver Sun

    Ottawa to help manufacturers ‘massively scale up production’ for medical supplies

    Industry will be looking to a new program from Ottawa to shift manufacturing capabilities and expand production of medical supplies needed during the COVID-19 crisis.

    SOURCE
    Business in Vancouver

    Business continuity and COVID-19: Key considerations for small businesses in BC

    This 3-part checklist and resource listing can help you prepare yourbusiness now for potential future disruptions.

    SOURCE
    Government of BC

    COVID-19 small business help centre

    Check out the Canadian Federation of Independent Business guide on dealing with COVID-19.

    SOURCE
    CFIB

    COVID-19 resources for small businesses

    As entrepreneurs try to figure out their own unique path forward, Small Business BC gathered the latest resources to help prepare small businesses to get through this challenging time.

    SOURCE
    Small Business BC

    COVID-19 and the workplace

    As information about COVID-19 develops, WorkSafeBC continues to monitor the progression of the virus and refer to the guidance of public health officials.

    SOURCE
    WorkSafeBC

    Resources for Canadian businesses: COVID 19

    During this extraordinary time, the Government of Canada is taking strong action to help Canadian businesses.

    SOURCE
    Government of Canada

    Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

    All sections of our society – including businesses and employers – must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease.

    SOURCE
    World Health Organization

    Coronavirus Advice: How employers can protect their staff and business

    Employers will have to deal with employees who are worried about coming into work, shortages of workers and business, and potentially closures.

    SOURCE
    Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium

    Effectively communicating about Coronavirus in the workplace

    Clear, caring messages from all levels of leadership is helpful in reducing fear and uncertainty in the workplace.

    SOURCE
    Myworkplacehealth

    Handling absenese and other disruptions

    Find out what you must do if employees fall ill, are absent from work or your business is unexpectedly disrupted.

    SOURCE
    BC Government | Employment, Business and Economic Development

    COVID-19: Managing and pivoting during a time of crisis

    As entrepreneurs try to figure out their own unique path forward, we’ve been hearing more and more stories of how individual businesses are managing their way through this crisis

    SOURCE
    Small Business BC

    Support for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19

    The health and well-being of entrepreneurs, clients and non-clients as well as of our partners is our top priority.

    SOURCE
    Business Development Bank of Canada

    How to apply for employment insurance during COVID-19

    Apply as soon as possible after you stop working. If you wait more than 4 weeks after your last day of work to apply, you may lose benefits.

    SOURCE
    Government of Canada

    Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan: support for Canadians and businesses

    The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    SOURCE
    Government of Canada

    Managing your mental health through COVID-19: Tools to help you cope

    Some amount of anxiety is normal and can help to keep us safe, but it’s important to keep it at a manageable level.

    SOURCE
    WorkSafe Saskatchewan

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

    In recent weeks, news of coronavirus has been at the forefront of many of our minds, increasing anxiety and concern about personal risk.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    Coronavirus: What is it and what are the risks in Canada

    Learn here what coronavirus is, what the risks are to Canadians and how to stay safe.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    How to reduce coronavirus anxiety in the workplace

    Coronavirus has many people anxious about their personal safety and a number of people are worried about their safety at work.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    7 tips to manage anxiety and worry about coronavirus

    Here are 7 tips to manage anxiety related to Coronavirus.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    7 tips to manage anxiety about coronavirus

    Here are 7 tips to manage anxiety related to Coronavirus.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    How to manage anxiety about coronavirus (COVID-19) that turns into panic

    When anxiety becomes overwhelming it can turn into panic, and even though symptoms of a panic attack are very frightening, they’re not dangerous.

    SOURCE
    MyWorkplaceHealth

    Preparing emotionally for disasters and emergencies

    Disasters and emergencies impact us not only physically, but also emotionally.

    SOURCE
    Canadian Red Cross

    Taking care of mental health during COVID-19

    While we’re spending so much time focusing on staying healthy, it’s important that our mental health is part of that.

    SOURCE
    Canadian Red Cross

    Managing COVID-10 stress, anxiety and depression

    There are things we can do as individuals and collectively to deal with stress and support one another during these challenging times.

    SOURCE
    BC Government

    Tips to help families cope during self-isolation due to COVID-19

    Families are facing the challenge of keeping children’s needs met during 14 days at home.

    SOURCE
    Canadian Red Cross

    Member Tips – What Other Manufacturers are doing

    Employers are doing their best to follow workplace health and safety regulations and keep up with the evolving requirements of the Public Health Office. Here are examples of the infectious disease protocols and safeguards in place in their manufacturing and food processing plants today:

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    Restricted access and physical distancing

    No outside visitors; only employees allowed in the plant

    Restricted access and physical distancing

    Blocking doors open so that the handles do not need to be touched

    Restricted access and physical distancing

    6 ft (2 m) of sepration between people at ALL times.

    Restricted access and physical distancing

    Stopped all in-person meetings

    Restricted access and physical distancing

    Only 1 employee allowed in the change room at a time

    Restricted access and physical distancing

    All employees are asked to participate in physical distancing until further notice

    Lunch and breaks

    Lunchroom is closed

    Lunch and breaks

    Only coffee is being provided and signs are up to allow only one person to get coffee ast a time. The coffee is wiped down after.

    Lunch and breaks

    Only five people allowed in the lunchroom at a time and only one per table (physical distancing)

    Lunch and breaks

    Sanitize lunchroom every two hours

    Lunch and breaks

    Management eat lunch at their desk

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    An employee is dedicated to disinfecting all doorknobs, light switches and all equipment.

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Increased professional cleaning and sanitization of all areas (outside contractor)

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Advising and encouraging frequent hand washing and sanitizing

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Provide hand sanitizer, clearning wipes, cleaning solution, clearning products to all areas of the plan and office for employees to cleanr during the shift between workers.

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    All staff required to wash their hands when entering the facility

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Sanitize lunchroom every two hours

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Sanitize your desk before starting and at the end of every shift

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Employees santize work station before start and end of shift

    Cleaning and sanitizing

    Increase in cleaning frequencies and cleaning standards

    HR policies

    Staff can voluntarily go home if they request

    HR policies

    Staff who choose to go home and are not ill are given unpaid leave

    HR policies

    Corporate developed a COVID-19 playbook for step-by-step instructions which is updated every couple of days

    HR policies

    All employees are required to sanitize their hands when entering the facility and fill out health declaration forms

    HR policies

    Requested staff avoid carpooling when possible

    HR policies

    All employees have been trained on this disease and are well aware of the issues if someone they know or a family member becomes infected

    Training and monitoring

    Embarked on an education campaign for all our employees – weekly updates and notices covering how the virus is spread, ways to protect oneself, preventative measures, and what to do if smptoms are experienced, etc.

    Training and monitoring

    Education and practice on physical distancing

    Training and monitoring

    All employees are trained to know the signs and watch each other

    Training and monitoring

    Monitor employees and send any employees displaying signs and symptoms of the flu home

    Scheduling

    Completely segragated all three shifts of production works and management. We leave 20 minutes between shifts so nobody even sees the next shift. Once the first shift is gone, the next shift arrives and carries on. Management is also spread over all three shifts. This would allow us to have two shifts still producing product if one shift goes down