THE B.C. government and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are taking unprecedented measures to slow the transmission of COVID-19, according to an official press statement.
Henry recently issued an order under the Public Health Act prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people at a place where a person is the owner, occupier or operator, or for which they are otherwise responsible. Employers in the manufacturing sector are asking for clarity about what this means for them.
The public health officer is directing employers to take all necessary precautions to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission and illness to themselves and their employees. This includes:
- There should be no more than 50 people in the same space in any circumstances.
- Employees must be able to maintain a distance of two metres apart from each other.
- Reduce in-person meetings and other gatherings and hold shop meetings in open spaces or outside.
- Increase the number of handwashing stations and post signage that identifies their location. Handwashing stations must be added if none currently exist.
- Maintain a list of employees who are currently working in each shop and update this list daily.
- All common areas and surfaces should be cleaned at the end of each day. Examples include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks, light switches and door handles.
- Anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, sneezing or coughing, must self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days from onset of symptoms, until their symptoms have completely resolved.
Section 4.85 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation provides for a minimum standard around the provision of washrooms and handwashing facilities. Where plumbed facilities are not feasible, employers must provide access to portable washroom and handwashing facilities. Those facilities must be maintained in good working order and be provided with the supplies necessary for their use.
Employers should reassess their work environment every day and keep updated with the information posted on the Province’s COVID-19 website: www.gov.bc.ca/COVID19