As BC continues with Step 3 of its Restart Plan, employers are no longer required to maintain COVID-19 Safety Plans and should now be transitioning towards long-term Communicable Disease Plans.
A communicable disease refers to any illness caused by an infectious agent (i.e. bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.) that can be transmitted from person to person. COVID-19, norovirus, and seasonal influenza are a few examples.
A Communicable Disease Plan should provide broad measures to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases within the workplace. These include providing hand washing facilities and promoting hygiene practices, maintaining a clean workplace, ensuring adequate ventilation and enabling employees to stay home when sick. Protocols specific to preventing the spread of COVID-19 (wearing masks, physical distancing, daily health checks, etc.) are no longer required; however, it is recommended that employers maintain measures that are not intrusive to operations such as physical barriers and directional signage. Employers should also be prepared to implement additional measures during times when there is heightened risk, as advised by public health authorities.
WorkSafeBC has published a guideline for developing communicable disease plans which includes a 4-step process:
- Understand the Risk
- Implement Policies and Practices
- Communicate Your Policies
- Monitor and Change as Needed