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Health and safety

WorkSafeBC is working to support the direction of public health agencies for slowing the progression of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) by helping workplaces to take appropriate preventative measures. Please read the information on this website to learn more about how to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

What’s new: Public health orders (updated Nov. 24)

On November 19, 2020, the provincial health officer (PHO) issued an order to all employers that includes requirements for a number of sectors including sports and recreation, gyms and fitness centres, faith-based organizations, performing arts, movie theatres, and party buses and limousines.

In addition to these specific requirements, the order requires that all employers review their COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure that appropriate protocols are in place to protect workers from the risk of transmission, work-from-home options are employed where possible, and workers and customers wear masks when not separated by space or barriers.

Employers are advised that due care must be taken to ensure appropriate measures are in place in shared spaces, such as break rooms, kitchens, and small office spaces.

Employers are also required as part of this order to ensure that workers and others are prohibited from entering the workplace if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a potential exposure. Information about these and other workplace policies to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission are provided in the COVID-19 Safety Plan and summarized here.

Employers are expected to provide signage on the mandatory mask policy that was issued by the November 24 order of the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

For more information, see:

  • New Mandatory masks in workplaces: This page details the mask requirements in the PHO order. Also see our new workplace poster.
  • Resource for reviewing and updating your COVID-19 Safety Plan: This resource will help you meet the order’s requirement for all employers to review their plan.
  • Worker health checks: This page contains information on the order’s requirement to ensure that workers conduct a daily health check before entering the workplace.
  • WorkSafeBC increasing inspections: We're urging employers to stay vigilant and update COVID-19 safety plans as conditions change.

This order applies to all areas of the province and remains in place until December 7 at midnight or as otherwise advised by the PHO.

 

What’s new: Inspections and consultations

 

What’s new: New and revised resources

 

COVID-19 safety plans

Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.

To help you develop your plan, this page provides information and resources on keeping workers safe in industries that have been providing essential services since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. For additional information, also see:

WorkSafeBC will be reviewing plans of individual employers during their inspections of your workplace. Please be reminded that in accordance with the order of the provincial health officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite and posted to the website, if there is one. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, we will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see their plan. To learn more, read Inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responsibilities

Employers, workers, owners, prime contractors, and other people at the workplace all have a responsibility to prevent exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and all other workers at their workplace. They are responsible for completing and posting the COVID-19 Safety Plan and to train and educate everyone at the workplace of the contents of that plan. Employers are also responsible for having a system in place to identify the hazards of COVID-19, control the risk, and monitor the effectiveness of the controls.

Workers are responsible for taking reasonable care to protect their own health and safety and the health and safety of other people at workplace. In the context of COVID-19, this means workers are responsible for their own personal self-care, which includes frequent hand washing and staying home when sick. Workers are also responsible for reporting unsafe conditions to their employer, and following the procedures put in place by the employer to control the risks associated with COVID-19.

The owner or the prime contractor is responsible for coordinating health and safety at a workplace where workers of two or more employers are working at the same time. This includes doing everything that can reasonably be done to establish and maintain a system or process to ensure compliance with WorkSafeBC laws and regulations generally, including ensuring an effective system to control the risks associated with COVID-19.

What about contractors? A person you contract with might be a worker, employer or independent operator, depending on the contract between you, and how that person has set up their business. If you are not sure whether a person you contract with is your worker or is required to be registered as an employer, visit Who does and doesn't need coverage.

Additional resources

The information on our website is based on current recommendations and may change. Content from health and safety associations and other parties is also subject to change and WorkSafeBC has not reviewed this material for the purpose of ensuring it is aligned with our guidance.

For the latest guidance, please see the health information from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, the latest news from the government of British Columbia, and the latest orders from the Office of the provincial health officer.

Public health agency websites

For more information about the COVID-19 situation, including public health alerts and FAQs, please see the COVID-19 pages on the following websites:

Self-assessment tool

The BC Ministry of Health has developed an online BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool to help people determine whether you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

Information for employers & businesses

The BC Centre for Disease Control has collected COVID-19 information for Employers & Business, where you will find information for essential businesses.

The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service serves as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

To help support workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCOHS has made a number of online products and resources available on its website

Phone resources

  • 1.888.COVID19 (1.888.268.4319): For non-medical information about COVID-19. Available 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC): To talk to a nurse if you need advice about how you are feeling and what to do next.

Submitting and managing reviews

If you disagree with a decision made by WorkSafeBC on a claim, assessment, or health and safety enforcement matter, you can request a review of the decision from the Review Division. We are continuing to receive requests for review and are completing as many decisions as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about Submitting and managing reviews during the COVID-19 outbreak.