The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“As more regions enter Stage 2 of reopening, we want to give businesses the tools and resources they need to adapt and succeed in this new environment,” said Premier Ford. “By providing this guide on COVID-19 workplace safety, employers, employees, and customers can have the confidence they need to resume business as usual with the right health and safety measures in place.”
The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.
The government’s first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers:
- Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects;
- Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection;
- Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer’s workplace;
- Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and
- Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.
The new guide is supported by 121 workplace resources available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help protect workers from the virus. They include safety guidelines and helpful posters with tips for 28 distinct sectors such as construction, food, agriculture, manufacturing and long-term care. These materials were developed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in consultation with provincial health and safety associations.
“Nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of workers and others during these unprecedented times,” said Minister McNaughton. “I strongly encourage all employers in the province to visit our website at Ontario.ca/covidsafety. The tools are there. The resources are there. The most up to date information is there. As more businesses reopen, we want to ensure they are able to adapt to this new environment quickly and efficiently.”