EMC BC: Workplace Health and Safety and COVID-19

June 17, 2020 Bren de LeeuwBC Lower Mainland 286 Views

In light of current conditions, EMC has transitioned peer networking events to webinars until there is a solid road to recovery established. 

EMC BC EH&S Manufacturing Members participated in their first virtual networking opportunity that focused on “Workplace Health and Safety and COVID-19”.  It was a chance to hear current practices and to connect with peers on their adaptation to the crisis and to recovery planning.

We were pleased to welcome Jose Barranco, OHS Consultant, OHS Consultation & Education Services – Manufacturing, WorkSafeBC as our Guest Speaker.  WorkSafeBC has a wealth of resources for those looking for COVID-19 guidance.

A great deal of information has been shared through WorkSafeBC as well as partners such as the Federal and Provincial Governments, Economic Development, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC, Sectoral Organizations and EMC.  Companies, depending on whether deemed essential or not, have been on different mitigation and recovery curves dependent on their labour forces, ppe requirements, and customer demands.

We started our session by reviewing COVID-19 – what it is and how it spreads and what to do if a worker experience’s flu-like symptons.  From there we learned about the importance of developing a COVID-19 Safety Plan to control workplace exposure risks, reviewed current industry information on Phase 1 and 2, and finished with a detailed report on where to go for additional support, along with information and resources available through WorkSafeBC.

Of particular interest during this event was the development of Safety Plans.  Our Speaker was able to draw industry examples of how Safety Plans might be constructed and suggested that WorkSafeBC has identified a helpful six-step process which is outlined below:

1.  Assess the risk at your workplace;
2.  Implement measures to reduce the risk;
3.  Develop policies to manage your workplace;
4.  Develop communication plans and training;
5.  Monitor your workplace and update your plans as needed; and
6.  Assess and address risks from resuming operations.

For more information, visit a WorkSafeBC

There is a Safety Plan Template available for employers (in multiple languages) which can be very helpful through the WorkSafeBC website as well – this is definitely worth checking out if you are in the midst of developing a program for your company, or are interested in reviewing your current one and enhancing if necessary.

When it comes to controlling the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, Members present shared some of the preventative measures they have instituted as well including physical distancing, temperature checks, sanitization, reporting hazards and unsafe work and the importance of remaining at home if ill or displaying any signs of COVID-19.

After discussing at-work on location requirements, we also recognized that a considerable number of people are now working from home as well.  This then was the perfect time to discuss employer responsibility and company policy development for those they have employed in this manner.  There are guides available again on the WorkSafeBC website that can address any questions a company may have.

As mentioned above, our Guest Speaker finished his presentation by sharing the most current Industry information as it relates to Phase 1 and Phase 2 and an overview of WorkSafeBC and other organizational support as well as important resources for companies to tap into.

Supplemental information follows on protecting mental health which is every bit as important as physical health especially in these uncertain times:   

Other Resources Available from WorkSafeBC:

Resources to help employers manage the risks of exposure to COVID-19

These resources will help you maintain a healthy and safe workplace and reduce the risks to your workers. Some of the resources are also available in multiple languages.

Posters to help workplaces prevent the spread of COVID-19

Put these posters up in your workplace to remind workers and visitors how they can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The posters are also available in multiple languages.

It was definitely an interesting session and we learned that there is a lot of information available to companies looking at developing the best approaches to protect their people as we navigate this crisis and look forward to much safer days to come!

Next Events:

We are interested in hearing from you!  If you have a particular EH&S subject that you would like to see addressed in a peer group setting – please let me know, we would be delighted to hear from you!

On behalf of our EMC Members and Guests - very special thanks to Jose Barranco for sharing such a great overview on “Workplace Health and Safety and COVID19”!

All the best as always!

Stay safe and stay well!


Bren de Leeuw

Western Canada Operations and
Vice President – Community Partnerships & Stakeholder Relations
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - - 519-372-6009