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Worker health checks: November 19 PHO order

Part of a robust COVID-19 Safety Plan involves ensuring people with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had a potential exposure are prohibited from entering the workplace.

Updated To support this goal, the provincial health officer issued an order on November 19 that includes a requirement for employers in all regions to ensure that every worker conducts a daily health check before entering the workplace. This order remains in place until midnight on December 7 or as otherwise advised by the PHO. The information below provides clarity around what is required for daily health checks.

What employers need to do

  • Employers must ensure that every worker performs a daily health check before entering the workplace. Health checks are mandatory self-assessments conducted by workers and includes confirming with their employer, in written or verbal format, that they have reviewed the complete list of entry requirements (included on this entry check poster) and that none of the prohibited criteria apply to them.
  • Employers can use a number of methods to confirm that this self-assessment has taken place. Some examples include:
    • A written health check declaration completed by workers before entry.
    • An online health check form completed by workers before entry.
    • A verbal check in, done either in person, virtually, or by phone with every worker, confirming that the worker has completed their daily health check, and a record that this confirmation was received.
    • Other forms of a supervised daily health check process based on the above.
  • Employers must not record workers' answers to specific questions about their health. Workers’ medical information, such as symptoms, testing results and diagnosis, is private information and employers are cautioned that collecting this information may infringe on human rights, privacy, or employment law.

What workers need to do

  • Review the list of symptoms and potential exposure questions (included on this entry check poster).
  • Complete the daily health check and inform your employer that you have done so, using the health check method at your workplace.
  • If you have any of the symptoms or potential exposures listed on the health check, do not enter the workplace.

Resources for employers and workers

An entry check poster for workers is available here. This poster can be posted at the worksite to provide a list of the symptoms and restrictions that workers must review as part of a health check. Signage and messaging at the workplace on its own is not sufficient to satisfy the daily health check requirement.

Frequently asked questions

What are the key symptoms of COVID-19?

The current list of symptoms as identified by the BCCDC are included on this entry check poster. These are new or worsening:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What are the other entry requirements?

In addition to displaying any of the above new or worsening symptoms, other restrictions from entering a workplace include:

  • If you have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days
  • If you have been identified by Public Health as a close contact of someone with COVID-19
  • If you have been told to isolate by Public Health

These restrictions are included on this entry check poster.

Who is responsible for doing health checks?

Employers are responsible for ensuring that health checks are completed by implementing appropriate protocols and training designated individuals to confirm they are done. Supervisors, health and safety personnel, or others may be tasked with confirming that workers have conducted the health check and recording that this confirmation was received. Workers are responsible for conducting the health check before entering the workplace and confirming this through the method required by the employer.

What if a worker has a symptom of COVID-19 or potential exposure?

The worker must not enter the workplace. They must return home and use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool or follow any public health advice they have been given.

Are employers required to inform public health of those exhibiting symptoms?

No.

What if a worker refuses to confirm that a health check was completed?

The order issued by the PHO requires that workers do the health check. If a worker refuses to take part in the health check, they must not enter the workplace.

Do daily health checks have to be completed for trades people, contractors, or visiting staff?

Yes.

What information is the employer required to compile and collect?

Employers should not be collecting any personal information about workers, including their responses to health check questions. Employers just need to collect a confirmation that a health check was done.

Do daily health checks have to be completed for clients or the general public entering the workplace?

No, the provincial health officer has only ordered daily health checks for all workers entering the workplace. However, a COVID-19 Safety Plan already requires that employers have policies prohibiting members of the public from entering the workplace if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or meet any of the other restricted criteria. For members of the public, posting signage at the entrance to the workplace is enough.

If we implement an effective health check program, doesn’t that mean no one with COVID-19 is at the workplace? Can we relax on our other protocols?

No. Remember, not all COVID-19-positive people show symptoms, and asymptomatic people can still transmit the virus. All of your workplace protocols including physical distancing, barriers, masks, and cleaning protocols need to remain in place, and you must ensure that they are being followed appropriately.