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COVID-19 information for BC businesses

Returning to safe operation - Phase 2 (British Columbia)

The following information and resources developed by WorkSafeBC are intended to assist all employers to ensure the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 is minimized at their workplace.

COVID-19 safety plans

Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.

During an inspection, WorkSafeBC will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see the plan if it has been developed.

WorkSafe BC Hand & Surface Hygiene Protocols by Industry

Arts and cultural facilities 

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Prohibit the use of high-touch displays through signage or physical barriers. If they remain in use, consider the following controls:
    • Install hand sanitizing stations near displays
    • Increase the cleaning frequency of all touch displays
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations at all facility entryways for everyone to use.
For a complete list of protocols for arts and cultural facilities visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Health professionals

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:

  • Ensure adequate handwashing facilities are available and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers approved by Health Canada.

  • Practice effective hand hygiene after each client by washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada.

  • Ensure waiting and treatment areas and, equipment are sanitized to prevent surface transmission between clients.

  • Commonly touched surfaces and shared equipment must be cleaned and disinfected after contact between individuals, even when not visibly soiled.

  • Ensure shared equipment and facilities (e.g., telephones, computers, washrooms and laundry rooms) receive increased cleaning and sanitizing.

  • Develop and implement protocols for sanitizing treatment areas and equipment to prevent surface transmission between clients.

For a complete list of protocols for health professionals visit the WorkSafeBC website.

In-person counselling

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Ensure that all in-person appointments are scheduled and staggered to allow time to sanitize surfaces between appointments (e.g., schedule a break or virtual session following an in-person appointment) and to minimize contact with others.
  • Provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitizer for clients to use upon entry to the workplace.
  • Implementing hand hygiene practices and avoiding face touching with unwashed hands can prevent infection transmission. This is particularly effective before and after breaks or meeting clients, even in the absence of physical contact. Refer to WorkSafeBC’s cleaning and hygiene protocols.
  • Where practicable, use of touchless hand sanitizer dispensers, garbage bins, etc. can be helpful to minimize the transmission of infection through physical contact.
  • Counsellors should ensure that they are sanitizing all high touch services (e.g., door handles, light switches) before and after a client attends an in-person appointment.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace and that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Minimize sharing office space or work stations. Ensure counsellors use their own equipment (e.g., pens, staplers, computers). If required, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces before leaving the space, such as the computer keyboard and mouse, desk surface, and telephone.
For a complete list of protocols for counsellors visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Education (K-12)

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Ensure handwashing supplies are available at all times (i.e., soap, clean towels, paper towels and, if needed, 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
  • Ensure workers are provided with appropriate supplies and facilities with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Hand hygiene stations should be set up at the school entrance and other locations as appropriate.
  • Consider the maximum number of workers and students required to wash their hands at peak times and ensure that sufficient hand washing or sanitizing stations are available for these times.
  • Develop a cleaning policy that focuses on high-traffic areas and high-contact surfaces such as doors and cabinet handles, stair railings, washrooms, shared office spaces, desks, keyboards, light switches, and communications devices.
  • Set up a cleaning and disinfecting schedule so that high touch surfaces are frequently cleaned during the day. General cleaning and disinfecting of the premises should occur at least once a day. Frequently-touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day.
For a complete list of protocols for education (K-12) visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Offices

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Consider providing hand sanitizer available to workers as they enter the building.
  • Restrict eating to a clearly identified and dedicated area with handwashing stations, cleaning and disinfectant supplies, and adequate space to maintain the physical distancing requirement.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Provide visitor-facing staff with hand sanitizer for their use only.
  • Minimize the use of shared vehicles. If required, follow appropriate disinfection procedures before and after travel for vehicle surfaces such as the steering wheel, gear shift, and door handles.
  • Minimize sharing office space or workstations. If workers must share office space, integrate these locations into your cleaning and hygiene protocols, ensuring that frequently-touched surfaces are addressed such as the computer keyboard and mouse, desk surface, and telephone.
  • Minimize the use of shared vehicles. If required, follow appropriate disinfection procedures before and after travel for vehicle surfaces such as the steering wheel, gear shift, and door handles.
For a complete list of protocols for offices visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Parks

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Before entering any shared space such as vehicle or office, wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Employers should have handwashing facilities or sanitizing stations available to workers as they enter and exit the vehicle.
  • Employers must ensure that high contact surfaces within the vehicle are routinely cleaned and disinfected. These include seatbelts, headrests, door handles, steering wheels, and hand holds.
  • Incorporate end-of-shift vehicle wipe downs, include a method for tracking end of shift cleaning and provide workers with appropriate supplies, like soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
  • Provide hand sanitizer to the public and workers.
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations at all entryways for everyone to use.
For a complete list of protocols for offices visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Personal services

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Have all clients wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering your place of business.
  • Establish policies around handwashing. This should include having workers wash hands before and after each client, at the beginning and end of shift, after handling money and after touching used towels, gowns, tools and equipment, and delivery items. Put up signage or posters.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Add additional time between all appointments to allow for proper cleaning and disinfecting, and incorporate this into your cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Clean and disinfect workplace frequently throughout day, between clients, and at end of day. Follow the cleaning and disinfecting guidance provided by WorkSafeBC.
  • Clean and disinfect all tools and equipment between each client.
For a complete list of protocols for offices visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Real estate

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Provide additional handwashing facilities (e.g., hand wash bottles with soap or hand sanitizer) at the front door and ask visitors to wash their hands before entering.
  • Wash your hands using good hygiene practices after touching common items.
  • Implementing hand hygiene practices and avoiding face touching with unwashed hands can prevent infection transmission. Wash hands before and after breaks or meeting clients and after viewings, even in the absence of physical contact. Refer to WorkSafeBC guidance on effective handwashing protocols.
  • All common areas and surfaces should be disinfected at the start and end of each day. Examples of common areas include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, lockboxes, light switches, handrails, door handles, and keys. Consider touchless alternatives, as practicable, and discuss with sellers. Refer to WorkSafeBC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • If possible, request that current occupants or landlord disinfect frequently touched surfaces prior to any viewings. This includes lockboxes as a high-touch surface. WorkSafeBC has guidance around effective cleaning and disinfecting that can be provided to anyone carrying out these tasks.
  • If possible, viewing attendees should avoid using the property’s washrooms. If used, washrooms should be cleaned and disinfected at least once daily. Real estate professionals can discuss this with the seller and determine what is practicable.
  • Real estate professionals should schedule viewings that allow for adequate time to disinfect high touch surfaces and allow for air flow throughout the property. This can be coordinated with the parties involved.
  • Following the inspection, disinfect all equipment and/or tools that were used during the home inspection, including phone, inside footwear (if used), key and lockbox, and any other items used during home inspection.
For a complete list of protocols for real estate visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Restaurants, cafés, and pubs

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Provide hand sanitizer at the door for customers to use when they enter the restaurant.
  • Develop and establish handwashing procedures for all front-of-house staff. WorkSafeBC handwashing signage is provided to communicate good handwashing practices. Post handwashing signs near all sinks.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Enhance cleaning and disinfecting practices for high-contact areas such as surfaces in public serving zones; incorporating regular and end-of-shift cleaning and disinfection for all shared spaces; and ensuring workers are provided with appropriate supplies, such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
  • Establish a system to eliminate or minimize sharing of communal equipment and small tools (implements). Any shared equipment such as small appliances, mixers, etc. should be cleaned between use and workers should wash their hands.
  • High touch equipment (freezer doors, oven handles, knobs) should be included in your cleaning protocol.
  • Develop and establish additional handwashing procedures for all kitchen staff. This includes before and after leaving the kitchen and using equipment.
  • Ensure shared vehicles are included in your cleaning protocol, including a disinfectant wipe down of all touch points (e.g., door handles, steering wheels, seats, windows, stairs, handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, garbage handles, seats, phones).
For a complete list of protocols for Restaurants, cafés, and pubs visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Retail

Hand and Surface Hygiene protocols:
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer near pay stations.
  • Place disinfecting wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in delivery and dispatch vehicles.
  • Develop and train workers on travelling safe practices for hand hygiene, and surface cleaning while travelling, when visiting clients, and before and after meals.
  • Clean and disinfect tools and frequently touched surfaces within the vehicle and between deliveries or installations.
For a complete list of protocols for Restaurants, cafés, and pubs visit the WorkSafeBC website.