To help businesses reopen safely, WorkSafeBC — British Columbia’s safety enforcement agency — has been carrying out a COVID-19 focused workplace inspection drive.
A WorkSafeBC officer may call or visit your worksite to review the health and safety protocols you have in place to protect your employees from COVID-19. So far, WorkSafeBC has carried out over 12,000 workplace inspections. It has also issued 320 orders for health and safety violations, as of June 26, 2020.
The COVID-19 Safety Plan
As an employer, you are required to make a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your workplace. It should detail the policies and procedures you have in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
You are also required to get the feedback of frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors while developing this Plan. You should educate and train your staff about the policies outlined in the Safety Plan. You must also have a system to identify workplace hazards related to COVID-19, ways to control the risk, and assess the effectiveness of the controls in place.
Once it is ready, you must post your COVID-19 Safety Plan at your worksite.
What will happen during a WorkSafeBC inspection related to COVID-19?
A WorkSafeBC officer may call or visit your worksite unannounced to check what health and safety measures you have in place. The officer will review your COVID-19 Safety Plan and assess its efficacy. The officer may want to speak with a member of your joint health and safety committee or a worker representative.
The officer will check whether physical distancing measures are in place. They will note whether you have provided your staff with enough hygiene supplies. The officer will assess if you are following COVID-19 guidance issued by BC’s provincial health officer. According to WorkSafeBC, employers should be able to answer questions such as:
- How have you assessed the risk at your workplace?
- How have you implemented protocols to reduce the risk?
- What policies have you developed to address illness in the workplace?
- How are you communicating with and training your staff?
- What are you doing to monitor and update your health and safety plans?
What documents should I have ready for inspection?
At present, the inspection officer would focus on your COVID-19 Safety Plan. They may ask to see other documents related to workplace safety, such as training records. According to WorkSafeBC, it is not mandatory to use their Safety Plan template. You can make your own document as long as it covers the same topics as the WorkSafeBC template.
What happens after the inspection is over?
The officer will give you an inspection report. Besides findings of the inspection, it will have additional resources and information that may be of use to you. If there are health and safety violations, the officer will issue remedial orders with the steps you must take to fix the violations. The officer may issue stop-work orders in case of a high risk of serious illness.
If you receive an order, it will not affect your insurance premiums. Make sure you understand the order and comply with it at the earliest possible. The order will specify a deadline by which you must comply.
The officer will follow up with you to check if you have implemented the necessary correctional steps.
Do you need help preparing your workplace for a COVID-19 health and safety inspection?
Our team of experts will help you develop your health and safety policies as per Public Health guidelines. For advice on HR and health and safety measures during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.