Premier John Horgan announced a 4 phase plan to restart the province and slowly loosen restrictions. What does this mean? It means that if certain requirements are met, the province will progress through these phases. As a result, businesses may begin to reopen under the condition of safe operation.
According to B.C.’s Restart Plan, which can be found here, public health officials, businesses, and labour organizations need to work together when lifting restrictions. The goal is to promote social and economic activity while monitoring health information to ultimately reduce public risk.
Under the Workers Compensation Act, employers in B.C. must ensure the health and safety of their workers in the workplace. WorkSafeBC has provided guidelines to assist non-essential businesses with their gradual reopening plans.
How can WorkSafeBC Help You?
According to WorkSafeBC, employers should piece together a safety plan prior to resuming operations. This plan must consider COVID-19 transmission risks as well as measures to reduce these risks in the workplace. However, employers need to involve their employees as much as possible during the planning process. By doing this, employers will come up with a well-rounded plan that encompasses both their concerns and those of their employees. For more details, see the WorkSafeBC website here.
WorkSafeBC will support employers by providing:
- Planning templates
- Education and training materials
- Workplace inspections
The following guideline merely addresses the key considerations when developing your reopening plan. It is not exhaustive nor does it acknowledge factors that may be specific to your business or industry.
- Assess the risks in the workplace
- Implement measures to reduce the risks, ensuring that you account for:
- Cleaning and hygiene
- How you can maintain physical distancing
- What you will do when physical distancing can’t be maintained
- Develop policies concerning:
- Who can be at the workplace
- What to do when workers are sick
- What to do with workers who are travelling
- Develop communication plans and training
- Monitor the workplace and update your plans whenever needed
- Continue to assess any risks arising from resuming operations so that you’re able to mitigate them
Note that to reopen your business your plan does not have to be approved by WorkSafeBC. However, be prepared to present it if your business is inspected. In short, developing a reopening plan will save you a few headaches. For example, it may ease some of the concerns held by employees about returning to work. In addition, you and your business will be better prepared to handle any obstacles that may arise during the coming weeks as restrictions are slowly lifted.
At Sodagar & Co., we understand that the information you need to operate your business frequently changes especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Firm is dedicated to helping you understand, keep track of, and implement the necessary changes for your business’ reopening. If you require any assistance or guidance, feel free to contact us!