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DOWNLOAD THE COVID-19 FAQs: (PDF)

1. How do you follow COVID-19 protocol in hoist operations?

2. What does physical (formerly social) distancing mean for construction operations?

3. What is the protocol(s) when you must work with 2 or more workers?

4. What are acceptable washing facilities for construction workers?

5. How do we maintain sanitary washing facilities?

6. How can the virus be transmitted?

7. How can I request to be tested?

8. Can I use my right to refuse unsafe work if I feel my employer is not following proper protocols?

9. Do I get paid if I self-isolate or go into self-quarantine?

10. Where do I find more information on how to manage Stress, Anxiety and Depression amongst my workforce?

11. If one of my co-workers is sick, do I need to self isolate?

12. If workers distance on site but congregate on breaks off site, should they be permitted re-entry?

13. What if workers are not disclosing information on their illness and medical conditions in fear of losing their jobs?

14. Testing for persons who are symptomatic is not available. What do I do?

15. What if workers cannot be physically distanced?

16. My worksite usually has 200 workers on shift. Many of these people work for different contractors or trades and have to share workspaces. Is this allowed?

17. Some crews car-pool to work. If one of the workers is sick, how is that to be regulated?

18. Commercial cleaning products and masks are not available. What do I do?

19.What if my First Aid certificate is about to expire?

20.What if we need to lay off our worker who is also our designated first aid attendant?

 

1. How do you follow COVID-19 protocol in hoist operations?

Post signage that limits the number of occupants, keeping it low to maintain necessary distance according to space, inside the hoist/elevator. Avoid direct face to face contact. No direct conversations to the occupants during the operation. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Construction site hoists are often operated by a designated worker. Usually workers are not required to touch a surface to gain entry to the hoist. Avoid touching surfaces unless absolutely necessary. If available, use hand washing stations to wash your hands, or apply sanitizer before and after entering the hoist.

Consideration should be given for the hoist operator to wear appropriate PPE depending on the size of the project.

2. What does physical (formerly social) distancing mean for construction operations?

Formerly referred to as social distancing, physical distancing is essential to reduce the risk of infection. Where possible, employees should maintain a minimum of 2 meters (6 feet) from each other and avoid direct face to face contact. Employers can use an alternating schedule or add extra shifts to reduce the total number of employees in a work area at any given time.

https://www.bccsa.ca/_customelements/uploadedResources/BCCSACOVID19SAFETYNOTICEFORWORKERSMAR27th.pdf

It is important to note that while physical distancing is necessary it does not mean that socially we have to disconnect from each other.

3. What is the protocol(s) when you must work with 2 or more workers?

Follow the 2 meter (6 feet) physical distancing requirements. There are several prevention measures to use including enhanced cleaning procedures and hygiene practices. Workers must be provided with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g. cough etiquette and care of PPE)

https://www.bccsa.ca/_customelements/uploadedResources/BCCSACOVID19PREVENTIONPROCEDURESMAR27.pdf

4. What are acceptable washing facilities for construction workers?

According to health and hygiene officials, washing your hands is one of the top priorities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. While running warm or cold water is preferred, a jug of clean water and a bar of soap, at a minimum, would be acceptable if the person uses proper handwashing techniques. There are many options for setting up a handwashing station on a construction site.

Post signage to identify the location of the hand washing stations. At each station post handwashing guideline information.

https://www.bccsa.ca/_customelements/uploadedResources/BCCSACOVID19HANDWASHINGMAR27th.pdf

5. How do we maintain sanitary washing facilities?

The facilities must be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis, including at the beginning of the workday, before and after lunch or break time, and at the end of each shift. Proper cleaning includes all surfaces that may be touched by people during their use of the facilities e.g. tap handles, paper towel dispenser handles. Acceptable disinfectants for use are identified here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/list.html

6. How can the virus be transmitted?

According to current data the virus is transmitted by:

  • Breathing in droplets in the air that are generated when people cough or sneeze.
  • Close contact with other people (e.g. shaking hands or hugging).
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the face, mouth, or food.
  • Touching a contaminated surface and then touching another surface may cause the virus to transfer from one surface to another

7. How can I request to be tested?

Please follow the link below for a self-assessment tool and support app: https://bc.thrive.health/

8. Can I use my right to refuse unsafe work if I feel my employer is not following proper protocols?

Every worker has the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. Workers must follow company specific reporting procedures that meet a minimum standard as per the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) Part 3.12.

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/law-policy/occupational-health-safety/searchable-ohs-regulation/ohs-regulation/part-03-rights-and-responsibilities#SectionNumber:3.12

The WorkSafeBC website addresses both worker and employer concerns regarding COVID-19. A worker can refuse unsafe work if an employer is not following the precautions outlined by WorkSafeBC and the Provincial Ministry of Health Department. Some examples include, access to washing stations, 2 meters (6 feet) workspace between workers, and no more than 4 people in an elevator. More specific information for workers can be found here:

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates/health-and-safety/what-workers-should-do

For the most current COVID-19 information from WorkSafeBC, please visit their website here:

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates

9. Do I get paid if I self-isolate or go into self-quarantine?

On March 23rd, the government of British Columbia has announced job protection measures to help workers who are required to self isolate. For more information on these programs, please visit:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support or call 1 888 COVID-19.

10. Where do I find more information on how to manage Stress, Anxiety and Depression amongst my workforce?

The government has published a bulletin to help employers find resources and information related to mental health, which can be accessed here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf

11. If one of my co-workers is sick, do I need to self isolate?

Anyone who is sick should not be permitted on site. Depending on the outcome of the self assessment tool, or if you or your co-worker has symptoms - including a fever, cough, sneezing, or sore throat, you may need to self isolate for 10 days.

Due to the limited availability of tests, we must treat all cases of respiratory illness as potentially positive for COVID-19. This is cautionary, to reduce the potential exposure to society in general. You can access the self assessment tool here: https://bc.thrive.health/

12. If workers distance on site but congregate on breaks off site, should they be permitted re-entry?

This behaviour should be strongly discouraged. To be effective, COVID-19 precautions must be followed in all circumstances. This requires significant changes in behavior and work practices. Relaxing these precautions may negate the significant efforts made by workers, employers, and potentially society at large (e.g. health care workers, self-isolation by other workers, etc..).

Your company policy will need to address specific procedures for breaks, including how many workers can safely be in a lunchroom or smoking area. A policy is also needed for when, where and how a toolbox meeting will be held. Employers decide how to enforce social/physical distancing requirements and other COVID-19 precautions on and off their sites. All precautions must be taken seriously!

13. What if workers are not disclosing information on their illness and medical conditions in fear of losing their jobs?

Employers should consider putting sick-leave policies in place so that employees feel more comfortable disclosing illness. For more information on job protection measures taken by the government of BC, please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020LBR0012-000551

14. Testing for persons who are symptomatic is not available. What do I do?

We hope that the provincial government will be able to accommodate all testing requests in the future. In the meantime, as long as people who are symptomatic self-isolate they will reduce the risk of transmission to others.

15. What if workers cannot be physically distanced?

If workers cannot be physically distanced then employers will need to curtail or reduce the pace of work.

16. My worksite usually has 200 workers on shift. Many of these people work for different contractors or trades and have to share workspaces. Is this allowed?

The government has stated there should be no more than 50 people in the same space under any circumstance. More information can be found from the BC Center for Disease Control here:

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/common-questions

The British Columbia Public Health Officer order specific to mass gatherings can be read here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/covid-19-pho-class-order-mass-gatherings.pdf

The BCCSA also has a health screening tool available for employers to manage the workforce and protect workers that remain healthy from exposure:

https://www.bccsa.ca/_customelements/uploadedResources/BCCSACOVID19HEALTHSCREENINGTOOLMAR31st.pdf

17. Some crews car-pool to work. If one of the workers is sick, how is that to be regulated?

Anyone who is sick should not be permitted on site. The Provincial Health Services Authority does not necessarily require people who have worked or carpooled with people that are sick to self isolate unless they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. More information on self-isolation circumstances can be found here:

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/self-isolation

The workers methods of travel to and from work, unless in company transportation, cannot be controlled by the employer. Again, we urge workers to self isolate if they have been in contact with any individual known to show symptoms.

18. Commercial cleaning products and masks are not available. What do I do?

If commercial cleaning products and masks that are required to complete the work safely are not available then you may need to curtail work. Government and industry are working to make more products and testing available.

19.What if my First Aid certificate is about to expire?

WorkSafeBC OFA L1, OFA L2, OFA L3 and all equivalent certificates have been granted a 3-month extension.

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/news-events/announcements/2020/March/short-term-extensions-of-occupational-first-aid-certificates  

20.What if we need to lay off our worker who is also our designated first aid attendant?

Employers must still provide first aid to workers as required by Regulation. If the number of workers has been reduced, it is possible that a lower level of first aid attendant and / or less equipment is required. See Schedule 3-A to confirm the new requirements.

There are 6 tables in Schedule 3-A which are organized by three key pieces of information: the distance from hospital, the number of workers per shift, and if the work is low, moderate or high hazard. Apply your workplace circumstance to the Schedule 3-A tables to determine what is needed currently. Don’t forget to update your Emergency Response Plan to reflect any changes and communicate the information to your workers. 

https://www.worksafebc.com/en/law-policy/occupational-health-safety/searchable-ohs-regulation/ohs-regulation/part-03-rights-and-responsibilities