Worker died after contracting COVID-19 at work

Date of incident: March 2020
Notice of incident number: 2020169730025
Employer: Social services provider

Incident summary
A worker is believed to have contracted the COVID‑19 virus in the workplace, where the worker’s duties included providing personal care to residents. The worker tested positive for COVID‑19 and later died.

Investigation conclusions

Cause

  • Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission of COVID‑19. COVID‑19 entered two separate day program workplaces of the employer and was inadvertently transmitted throughout these workplaces, as well as a residential facility also operated by the employer, without detection. Workers, clients, and residents did not begin to show symptoms of COVID‑19 until the tenth day. It is highly likely that the worker contracted COVID‑19 at work, most likely after close contact while providing personal care to a resident, before knowing that the resident had been exposed to COVID‑19.

Contributing factors

  • COVID‑19 pandemic. During the 10‑day period of inadvertent transmission of COVID‑19 in the employer’s workplaces, several workers, clients, and residents were exposed to and subsequently contracted the virus. WorkSafeBC’s investigation determined that the employer met its occupational health and safety requirements in its approach to managing the COVID‑19 pandemic. Specifically, the employer updated its pandemic plan and implemented an exposure control plan and a training plan for workers, ensuring its workers were made aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health and safety hazards with respect to COVID‑19 in the workplace.

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Publication Date: Jan 2022 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2020169730025