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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. To support this effort, we’ve provided the following information about COVID-19 and the workplace:

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. In addition to updating this page, we have provided additional information on developing a safety plan at COVID-19 and returning to safe operation, including a template for a COVID-19 Safety Plan, and in our COVID-19 Safety Plan OHS Guideline, which includes information on the level of detail required and using supporting documentation.

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. 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.

Announcements from WorkSafeBC

See our latest announcements related to COVID-19, both about how to stay safe at work and how WorkSafeBC is here to support you at this time.

Please note that this situation is rapidly evolving and the content of our updates reflects the knowledge we have at the time of posting.