Preventing communicable disease is part of BC’s Restart

It’s no longer mandatory to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan available for review, but employers still need to assess the risk of all communicable diseases. 

Photo of a person washing their hands as part of communicable disease prevention

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B.C. is now in Step 3 of the provincial government’s four-step Restart plan. This means that employers are no longer required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and can transition to communicable disease prevention. Communicable diseases include COVID-19, seasonal influenza, norovirus, and many other viruses that will continue to pose a risk of transmission in the workplace.

WorkSafeBC provides information about what communicable disease prevention is and what it means for your workplace. Communicable disease prevention: A guide for employers outlines prevention measures to implement and maintain at all times, and additional measures to implement when advised by Public Health. To help you create a communicable disease plan, this resource also includes a template to help document and communicate your measures, practices, and policies.

As an employer, you’ll need to monitor for orders coming from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to know what additional measures may be needed during instances of elevated risk. Special orders are currently in place for the central Okanagan local health area. See Interior Health’s announcement for specific details about the implemented health measures for that region.

Frequently asked questions

WorkSafeBC answers some common questions about BC’s Restart.

Q: Do I need to keep some of the existing protocols from my COVID-19 Safety Plan?

A: Some elements of communicable disease prevention are similar to measures employers put in place during the pandemic, such as not coming to work when you are sick and ensuring adequate ventilation. Other protocols, like distancing and barriers, are no longer required. For the time being during the transition period, the provincial health officer has issued a statement recommending that employers maintain some existing COVID-19 protocols that do not negatively impact business operations.

Q: Are workers and the public required to wear masks in the workplace?

A: As B.C. moves through the Restart plan, Public Health will provide guidance on the use of masks for both workplaces and public spaces. Employers may choose to implement mask policies for workers and/or the public that suit the circumstances of their individual workplace, provided they meet Public Health’s requirements.

Q: Can we stop daily health screenings for employees?

A: Employers are required to maintain policies and practices for workers who need to stay home when they are sick. The PHO order requiring daily health checks was lifted on July 1, though some employers may wish to maintain it.

Any more questions?

Follow WorkSafeBC on Twitter and Instagram to see more questions and answers from employers. If you have questions, contact WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE).

Best wishes to all for your health and safety.

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