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COVID-19 and communicable disease information for workers

Throughout the pandemic and beyond, we'll continue to serve the needs of workers across British Columbia.

What workers can do to stay safe at work

The provincial health officer has issued a statement advising that beginning in Step 3 of the Restart plan, workplaces can transition towards communicable disease prevention.

A communicable disease is an illness caused by an infectious agent or its toxic product that can be transmitted in a workplace from person to person. Examples of communicable diseases that may circulate in a workplace include COVID-19, norovirus, and seasonal influenza.

See information and resources on communicable disease prevention. Many of our resources for communicable disease prevention are also available in other languages.

Resolving concerns about unsafe work

Workers 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 general, an unvaccinated worker would not be considered an undue hazard, particularly if there were control measures in place. However, there may be situations where an undue hazard could exist if a communicable disease prevention program is not in place, or deemed insufficient. Each refusal needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please see our FAQs on Vaccination and the workplace.

If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor or employer must contact WorkSafeBC. Once that occurs, a prevention officer will consult with workplace parties to determine whether there is an undue hazard and issue orders if necessary.

For more information, see Occupational Health and Safety Guideline G3.12.

If you have a health and safety question or concern

Workers and employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to communicable disease 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.

Claims

We continue to offer our services to those who suffer a work-related injury or disease. Our call centres remain open, and we are continuing to adjudicate and manage new and existing claims. See more information for workers about accessing claims services.

We’re here to help

If you need assistance, you can continue to call us for emergency, claims, and health and safety needs, or use our convenient and efficient online services.

Please note that our staff may be contacting you from a non-WorkSafeBC phone number during this time. If your phone is set up to block calls from private or anonymous numbers, you may miss their call. Please consider changing your phone settings temporarily in order to receive service.