WorkSafeBC releases industry-specific guidance for next phase of restart

Employers do not need to submit their safety plans for review or approval. WorkSafeBC will, however, begin a provincewide verification and inspection initiative to ensure employers have their plans in place and are keeping employees safe

WorkSafeBC has released industry-specific guidance and resources for employers resuming operations as part of phase 2 of the provincial government’s restart plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their worksite and implements measures to keep their workers safe,” said Al Johnson, head of prevention services at WorkSafeBC.

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“We’ve developed both general and industry-specific materials in consultation with industry and labour stakeholders to ensure they are practical and understandable for workplaces in each sector.”

Employers do not need to submit their safety plans for review or approval. WorkSafeBC prevention officers will, however, begin a provincewide verification and inspection initiative to ensure employers have their plans in place and are keeping their workers safe.

Industry-specific guidelines and resources are now available for the following sectors:

• restaurants, cafes, pubs;

• salons and personal services;

• real estate;

• arts and cultural facilities (museums, art galleries and libraries);

• retail

• education (K-12);

• parks and outdoor spaces;

• health services;

• in-person counselling;

• office space.

Sector-specific guidelines for child care and recreation and sports will be released in the coming days.

To complement the protocols for specific industries, WorkSafeBC has also developed general resources intended for all workplaces. These include a COVID-19 safety plan template, workplace posters, information on cleaning and hygiene practices and guidance on the selection and use of masks.

“The planning process should involve workers for their input to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed,” said Johnson.

The release of industry-specific information and resources from WorkSafeBC aligns with the provincial government’s multi-phased plan to restart the economy. WorkSafeBC will continue developing industry-specific information and resources for the next phases of the restart to help employers develop their COVID-19 safety plan in advance of re-opening.

Employers and employees with questions can call WorkSafeBC’s prevention information line at 1-888-621-7233.

WorkSafeBC is also launching a provincewide awareness campaign in support of workplace health and safety as restrictions are lifted and more businesses resume operations.

Protocols for restaurants, pubs and cafes

General considerations:

• Eliminate hand-to-hand contact with customers (handshakes, fist bumps, high-fives, etc.).

• Rearrange waiting areas. Consider removing chairs and benches, asking guests to wait outside for a table, posting signs, stanchions, tape on floor, etc.

• Create separate take-out and dine-in protocols. Create a door or path separate from dine-in customers for payment and/or pickup if possible. Introduce clear signage for take-out versus dine-in and in and out doors.

• Consider having customers seat themselves by displaying table numbers. Have a greeter behind plexiglass assign tables.

• Maintain a two-metre (six-foot) distance from other workers and guests. If work activities mean that physical distancing cannot be maintained at all times, employers may consider the use of masks as an additional measure.

• Provide hand sanitizer at the door for customers to use when they enter the restaurant.

• Consider adding a plexiglass barrier at the bar and payment areas.

• Create and maintain a protocol for accessing and using washroom facilities where a two-metre separation cannot be maintained.

Table service:

• Have guests pour their own water by providing water in a bottle or jug at the table or pre-pour water glasses at the bar.

• Remove buffets and other self-service amenities.

• Have servers leave food and drinks at the front of the table and let guests pass them after the server has stepped away.

• Remove one chair per table and use that space as a designated place for the server to come to the table, similar to the open side on a booth.

• Remove salt and pepper shakers, sauce dispensers, candles and other table top items. Provide if requested and replace with thoroughly cleaned and sanitized ones. Consider single-use options.

• Avoid touching coffee cups when refilling.

• Use digital menus boards, large chalkboards or online pre-ordering alternatives instead of traditional menus. If this is not possible, consider single-use disposable menus.

• Try to limit the use of cash and limit the handling of credit cards and loyalty cards whenever possible, by allowing customers to scan or tap their cards and handle the card readers themselves. Encourage tap payment over pin pad use.

Cleaning and hygiene:

• Have sanitizer available to customers and staff. Install additional dispensers as needed.

• Place sanitizer for customers and staff at entrance, after checkout, and throughout the establishment.

• Increase cleaning between seatings. Tables, vinyl or laminated menus, and vinyl/leather/metal seats should be wiped when tables turn. Remove all items when turning a table, for example, unused cutlery, children’s colouring paper, and crayons.

• Establish cleaning procedures for condiments and other items brought to the table or available for sharing. Ensure they are cleaned between uses.

• Clean bathrooms thoroughly and on a more frequent basis. Install additional touch-free soap and paper towel dispensers if possible.

• Enhance cleaning of all frequent touchpoints, including walls, tables, chairs, barstools, coasters, condiments, coat hooks, restrooms, doors including front door, restroom door, staff doors to office, kitchen, and break room.

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