What workers should do
Workers should know and understand their workplace health and safety responsibilities — and those of others. If you’re a worker, you also have three key rights: the right to know about hazards in the workplace; the right to participate in health and safety activities in the workplace; and the right to refuse unsafe work.
Below is some information you should know to take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You may also wish to review our industry information pages for preventative measures to protect workers in specific industries from COVID-19.
Know when not to come to work
The provincial health officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control have issued the following guidance around self-isolation. The following workers should not come into the workplace:
- Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days must self-isolate at home; symptoms include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache.
- Anyone under the direction of the provincial health officer to self-isolate must follow those instructions.
- Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada, or who is a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
Workers who have been exposed to anyone confirmed to have COVID-19, or to anyone with possible symptoms of COVID-19, should call HealthLink BC at 811 for an assessment and to determine any necessary next steps.
Take other preventative measures while at work
If entering the workplace, workers should:
- Comply with the employer’s instructions around minimizing exposure to COVID-19.
- Wash their hands frequently, and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Take steps to minimize exposure to COVID-19 while away from work.
Resolving concerns about unsafe work
Workers in B.C. have the right to refuse work if they believe it presents an undue hazard.
An undue hazard is an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate” hazard. For COVID-19, an “undue hazard” would be one where a worker’s job role places them at increased risk of exposure and adequate controls are not in place to protect them from that exposure.
In these circumstances, the worker should follow steps within their workplace to resolve the issue. The worker would begin by reporting the undue hazard to their employer for investigation and the employers would then need to consider the refusal on a case-by-case basis, depending on the situation.
If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor or employer must contact WorkSafeBC. A prevention officer will then investigate and take steps to find a workable solution.
For more information, see Occupational Health and Safety Guideline G3.12.
For more information
The information on this page is based on current recommendations and may change. 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.
If you have a question or concern
Workers and employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to COVID-19 can call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE). You’ll be able to speak to a prevention officer to get answers to your questions, and if required, a prevention officer will be assigned to assess the health and safety risk at your workplace.