A PLANNED RETURN TO WORK MUST NOT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF WORKERS’ HEALTH AND SAFETY
The message we are sending to our members is this: nothing is more important than your health and safety. This must be kept in mind as you do your job on a daily basis in order to return home safely to your family.
We are operating under the guidance of the “precautionary principle” and we will err on the side of caution in every case where a real or perceived risk has not been assessed and controlled properly.
Use this checklist to determine if a workplace is ready to return to work safely.
- Do you have a copy of the employer’s return to work plan?
- Has the Joint Health and Safety Committee reviewed and endorsed the plan, with no more open or active issues?
- If there are open issues, what is the plan to get them resolved?
- Is government and public health guidance being followed?
- Has a risk assessment been completed? What are are the risks and hazards?
- Is there a COVID-19 response team with clear responsibilities?
- Is the union fully involved and briefed daily?
- Has there been a deep cleaning and sanitization process conducted in the workplace?
- Have legionella protocols been followed and the water system flushing been completed?
- Is there a plan to continue upgraded cleaning with additional resources?
- Is cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas taking place numerous times daily?
- Has contact with employees been established? Does the employer have required phone numbers and emails?
- Is there a pre-screening process before employees enter into facility? Does it include a self-assessment questionnaire?
- Is the employer limiting access to the facility to the public?
- Is there on-site screening of employee temperatures with appropriate response plan?
- Can physical distancing of 2 metres be followed at all times and in all places on workplace property?
- Is the employer staggering shift start times to avoid lineups?
- Is there proper training for management and the union on the return to work plan?
- Is there proper training for the entire workforce on the return to work plan?
- Is there a plan in place for contractor and visitor management and responsibilities?
- Is there an employee health self-monitoring plan?
- Is there a communication plan in place while employees are at work?
- Is there a response plan in case of symptomatic COVID-19 case at work?
- Are there special accommodations for workers who :
· Are immunocompromised
· Are older
· Have severe asthma
· Have severe diabetes, obesity, or kidney disease on dialysis
· Are pregnant
- Are emergency phone numbers being shared with everyone in the workplace?
- Are there dedicated smoking areas with appropriate safety precautions?
- Have designated locations for employees – including work areas, washrooms, break areas, entrances, exits, change rooms – been reviewed for physical distancing precautions?
- Are break times being staggered?
- Is the workplace maximizing facility ventilation – including exhaust and make up air?
- Is there sufficient PPE available for all workers in the workplace for at least 30 days?
- Are there sufficient hand washing stations, and is additional time allowed to wash hands?
- Are there hand sanitizing stations?
- Are there sufficient supplies of paper towels, and proper disposal facilities?
- Is there a plan in place for the cafeteria or any food vendors accessing the workplace?
- Are there signs, posters, and reminders about safety protocols around the workplace?
- Are there modified protocols for dealing with customers?
- Is there a plan for the removal of items that cannot be easily cleaned (soft surfaces)?
- Have the offices been cleaned and disinfected?
- Is there a plan for the laundry of work clothes and equipment?
- Are the procedures in place for disallowing stigma or workplace harassment of individuals or groups?
1. Keeping ourselves healthy and safe must be our first priority.
2. We know our rights and how to use them.
3. There is no job that is so important that it cannot be done safely!
4. The precautionary principle will prevail in all of our decision making.