With construction season well under way, POST would like to offer some reminders and resources to continue to keep your company safe.
We all know how challenging and trying the past year has been dealing with the pandemic especially now with the added stress of a third wave that is hitting us hard due to the newer COVID variants. And while our biggest concern is protecting the elderly and vulnerable population, statistically, over sixty percent of COVID cases in Canada have affected people between the ages of 20 and 59 with only one-fifth of cases affecting people sixty years of age or older; the former group representing the workforce.
The other concern are the number of people either in ICU or on a ventilator that are pushing hospital capacity to their limits. In Ontario’s Central Region alone, there were 900 active cases in requiring hospitalization, 212 of those cases in ICU and 134 of those cases on a ventilator as of April 20th.
Companies within our industry have worked hard to put into force the necessary COVID protocols and safety measures, such as increasing PPE protocols, having office staff work from home and managing workflows to minimize contact between workers.
While all these COVID protocols have become second nature, there also comes the danger of becoming complacent. The additional PPE workers must now use while critical to protect themselves and other workers can also provide a false sense of security in that workers may not be continuously reviewing or practicing these protocols as diligently as they should.
Employers should have a workplace safety plan in place and review with their workers on a regular basis. This includes the proper use and care of PPE, sanitizing protocols and ensuring social distancing is maintained. Many companies have also established workplace access control protocols by taking worker’s temperatures, using COVID screening apps or utilizing thermal detection systems.
Selecting an appropriate method to control a hazard in the workplace is not always easy. When it comes to the transmission of viruses such as COVID-19, workplaces should consider establishing control measures that have the greatest impact. The main ways to control a hazard, from the most to the least effective, include elimination (and substitution), engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE). In all cases, always practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
Share this infographic on how the hierarchy of controls can be applied to COVID-19 in the workplace, including examples of controls for each level. Visit the Infectious Disease Outbreaks/Pandemics website for additional information and resources.
https://www.ccohs.ca/outbreaks/Workplace Safety Plans
If you would like to review your workplace safety plan, most provincial authorities offer templates to assist you. We have provided the links below.
Remember, we must remain vigilant to stop the spread of COVID and keep our workers and families safe!
COVID WORKPLACE SAFETY PLANS
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety http://www.ccohs.ca