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6 key elements of your COVID-19 safety plan

Ontario enters Step 1 of ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ on Jun 11.

Are you ready with your COVID-19 safety plan?

Regardless of whether you are currently operational or are planning to bring back your workers to work, a COVID-19 safety plan can be very helpful for you.

It will help you prepare better as an employer to put in place all the relevant controls to ensure that you have a safer workplace for everyone. What’s more, you can download the template for COVID-19 safety plan from Ontario government’s website. In fact, you can use that template to create your COVID-19 safety plan.

CLICK HERE to check how 4S is supporting employers during COVID-19.

In this article, you will learn more about the following:

  • What are the 6 key elements of the COVID-19 safety plan as per the Ontario government guidance?
  • In what way can you best address the requirements of each of those elements?
  • How to work on your COVID-19 safety plan snapshot?

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Let’s continue with this article:

This article will just act as a guidance to understand the requirements of each of the 6 elements of the COVID-19 safety plan. Therefore, Once you are ready, it is recommended you download the Ontario government’s template of the COVID-19 safety plan and customize it to your workplace requirements.

Information provided in this article has been sourced from the Ontario government website. Hence, please refer to the hyperlinked website for more information.

Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving situation. Therefore, as an employer, it is good for you to review your COVID-19 safety plan regularly. That way, you will be able to make all any changes as required to keep it up-to-date. In fact, you can surely refer to the COVID-19 website of the Ontario government for more updated information.

As an employer, you have the responsibility to take every precaution that is reasonable under the given circumstances to protect your workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Your COVID-19 safety plan will help you have a well-defined approach on how to keep your workers safe at your workplace.

Please find below some guidelines, which can help you understand the requirements of each of the key elements that need to be covered in your COVID-19 safety plan. This information has been gathered based on inputs provided in this regard on the Ontario government’s website. Moreover, you can also download a template for the COVID-19 safety plan from the above website and customize it to your workplace requirements.

Let’s now understand the 6 key elements of COVID-19 safety plan: 

1) How will you ensure all workers know how and are able to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) What guidance will you need to provide?

Start by considering what guidance will you need to provide to your workers. This can be a good starting point for drafting your COVID-19 safety plan.

B) How will you share this information?

Now, start thinking about how you will be sharing this information with all your relevant workplace parties. You need to start establishing your communication strategy.

C) Are you looking for new modes of communication or higher frequency?

Start thinking on whether you need new modes of communication to ensure you message goes out loud and clear to all your relevant workplace parties. In fact, ask yourself whether you want to consider higher frequency of communication instead of newer modes of communication.

D) How will you update yourself on new guidance for COVID-19?

Now that you have done all of the above, it’s time for you to start considering where you will be updating yourself on all the new guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, that’s crucial to establish and what’s even more important is all your relevant workplace parties are aware of your resource library.

E) What actions have you taken?

Upon completing the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address A, B, C, and D. Furthermore, don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

2) How will you screen for COVID-19?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) How you will stay current about what symptoms to look for?

It’s time for you to start thinking about how you will stay updated on the information pertaining to what symptoms to look for.

B) How do you plan to conduct your screening?

You will need to identify whether you will use a screening checklist to perform staff screening. Next, you will need to identify who are the people you will be screening and how often.

C) What actions have you taken?

Upon taking care of the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address A and B. Don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

3) How will you control the risk of transmission in your workplace?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) How will you be maximizing distance and separation?

You will need to include in your COVID-19 safety plan points on how you plan to maximize distance and separation at your workplace. Moreover, you will also need to include how you plan to reduce transmission from surfaces and objects and support good hand & respiratory hygiene.

B) What are the engineering and administrative controls you will be using?

In your plan, list down all your engineering and administrative controls that you will be using. It is important to mention points such as:

  • What changes you will make?
  • Who will need to be at the workplace?
  • How do you plan to collect workers’ ideas about different ways of performing work related tasks?

C) What actions have you taken?

Once you are done taking care of the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address A and B. Don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

4) What will you do if there is a potential case or suspected exposure to COVID-19 at your workplace?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the contact information for your local public health unit?
  • What are your isolation procedures?
  • How will you collect workplace contact information for public health contact tracing?

B) What actions have you taken?

Once you are done taking care of the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address the questions listed in A. Also, don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

5) How will you manage any new risks caused by changes to the way you operate your business?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) Review your existing critical risks with your workers

Start with reviewing your existing critical risks with your workers. Moreover, review with your workers whether changes to work practices will affect your current risk management strategy. Furthermore, it is crucial for you to understand whether there are any new risks introduced due to changes in worker numbers or work practices. Also, understand what new risk controls are required.

B) What actions have you taken?

Once you are done taking care of the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address the questions listed in A. Furthermore, don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

6) How will you make sure your plan is working?

Here are some key considerations while drafting this portion of your plan:

A) How often will you schedule a review of your plan?

You will need to decide on the frequency of scheduling the review of your COVID-19 safety plan. This is crucial given the dynamic nature of the changes pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

B) How will you get input and ideas from workers and clients?

You will need to strategize on ways that you will adopt to collect inputs and ideas from your workers as well as your clients from time to time and incorporate them into your plan.

C) Who is responsible for evaluating how things are working?

You will need to identify the relevant workplace parties who will be responsible for evaluating how things are working. Moreover, you will also need to establish who will be responsible for adapting the plan as you start finding better and easier ways to perform activities. Furthermore, you need to incorporate all this into your plan.

D) How will you communicate changes?

Needless to say, communication holds the key to effective development and implementation of your  COVID-19 safety plan. Therefore, as an how you make any changes at your workplace, you will need to find effective and timely ways to communicate those to the relevant workplace parties.

E) What actions have you taken?

Once you are done taking care of the requirements of this section, simply list down all the actions that you have taken to address A, B, C, and D. Don’t forgot to mention who is responsible for each of your listed actions.

COVID-19 safety plan – snapshot

Upon addressing all the requirements of the six (6) elements of the COVID-19 safety plan, you will end your plan by presenting an overall snapshot. However, please feel free to use the Ontario government’s template for COVID-19 safety plan.

The snapshot will include the following:

A) Company details

These details include your business name, date completed (plan completion date), division/group, and revision date, which you are required to include in this section.

B) Measures that you are taking

Here, you will need to list your measures for ensuring workers know how to keep themselves safe from COVID-19 exposure

C) Your screening process for COVID-19

Under this section, you will need to list out how you are screening for COVID-19.

D) Controlling the risk of workplace transmission

Under this section, list your measures for each of the following sections:

  • Physical distancing and separation
  • Cleaning
  • Other (any other control measures you have implemented)

E) What you will do if there is a potential case or suspected exposure to COVID-19 at your workplace

In this section, you will have to list all your measures if there is a potential case or suspected exposure to COVID-19 at our workplace.

F) How you are managing any new risks caused by the changes in business operations

In this section, you will have to list your measures for managing any new risks caused by the changes made to the way you operate our business.

G) How are you making sure that your plan is working

In this section, you will have to list the measures that you are taking to ensure that your COVID-19 safety plan is working.

Upon creating your snapshot, you can post it at your workplace. However, ensure that it is at a prominent location at your workplace. That way, all your workers, clients, and other people entering your workplace can easily see it. What’s more, they will know all the actions you are taking as an employer to protect them.

For more information, write to info@4sconsult.com or call us on (905) 532-1488.

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