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COVID-19 Information for Workplaces

***RCDHU COVID-19 Information for Business Operators Toolkit

If you receive questions from your employees, we invite you to point them to our novel coronavirus COVID-19 webpage. 

Learn how you can create a plan to help protect your workers and others from novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). See Ontario’s COVID-19 workplace safety plan template.

Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace: Sector specific guidance for Ontario

Ministry of Health/Ministry of Long-Term Care Guidance for the Health Sector

Declaration of emergency

The Province of Ontario has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. The Province of Ontario has also closed at-risk workplaces and created a list of essential workplaces.

Signs and Symptoms

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause illness ranging from a very mild, cold-like illness to a severe lung infection. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Muscle ache.
  • Headache.
  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath).

**COVID-19 Screening Tools (June 11, 2020):

  • Link: Employee Screening Questionnaire – This is a screening tool that must be done by each employee upon reporting to work each day.
  • Link: Screening Poster for Retail Entrances – This is a poster for retail and personal service settings (hair dressers, barbers, nail salons, tattoo shops, etc.) to post at entrances. All clients/customers entering the shops must be reminded to complete the questions before services begin. It can also be used as a pre-screening tool to use with clients when booking appointments.

For more information on COVID-19, visit our novel coronavirus COVID-19 webpage. 

Recommendations

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, workplaces should consider:

  • Posting signage to alert workers of any signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
  • Display posters promoting hand-washing and respiratory hygiene.
  • Ensure tissues and alcohol-based hand rubs are available.
  • Evaluating if staff can work remotely from home.

In order to reduce employee absenteeism and reduce the spread of germs, including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend your employees:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just washed their hands.
  • Cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand.
  • Stay home if they are sick.
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if they are sick. 
  • It is still recommended that they get a flu shot if they haven’t already as the flu virus is still circulating in the community.
  • Keep workplaces clean and hygienic – increase frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, elevator buttons, key boards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, washrooms, etc.
  • There may be benefit to increasing the spatial separation between desks and workstations as well as individuals (e.g., employees, customers) from each other, ideally a 2-metre separation should be maintained, unless there is a physical barrier (e.g., cubicle, Plexiglas window).
  • Increased awareness about and communication to staff about COVID-19.
  • Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips (cancel all non-essential travel).
  • Take precautions for social events

Mass Gatherings

Please take the time to review any programs, services and/or events that you offer, in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

RCDHU recommends following a containment strategy in regards to mass gatherings which, includes social distancing measures such as:

  • Any indoor gatherings over 50 people, or outdoor gatherings over 100 people be cancelled or postponed.
  • Maintaining a two-metre distance between yourself and others if possible.

RCDHU recommends the following measures to reduce the spread of germs including the novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then clean your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve and then clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If you are ill, stay home.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Get your flu shot.

Risk Assessment Tool for Mass Gatherings

Travel Considerations

Things to consider when you and/or your employees travel.

Before travelling:

Please note: the Government of Canada has issued a Global Travel Advisory. They are advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Learn more here.

Returning to work after travel

Please be aware: ALL returning travellers from anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America) are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Canada

Employers/healthcare institutions may implement requirements for their staff beyond what is being recommended for returning travellers and can consult with Renfrew County and District Health Unit. 

Preparing for COVID-19

To prepare your workplace for COVID-19, consider the following actions:

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees and how to reduce these risks.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members and/or dismissals of early childhood programs and schools.
  • Explore the flexibility of policies and practices, such as teleworking arrangements, flexible hours, staggering start times, use of email and teleconferencing. 
  • Establish a process for ongoing communication with employees and business partners.
  • Develop a contingency and business continuity plan.

Ontario Workplace PPE Supplier Directory: www.ontario.ca/ppe

Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow recommendations on how to reduce the spread of infection.

Resources

 

Link: Community-based measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada – Public Health Agency of Canada

Developed free tip sheets as guidance for operations during a pandemic, which includes COVID-19. Each document provides health and safety tips and good practices, for both employers and workers, specific to each industry or sector (ranging from construction and trucking to healthcare and daycare). Link to these resources found here: CCOHS Free Tip Sheets

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TEL: 613-732-3629 or 1-800-267-1097

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TEL: 613-432-5853 or 1-800-465-5000