On Friday, January 7, the Provincial Health Officer announced that employers would need to bring back their pandemic safety plans under a new health order. The new health measure was announced as BC continues to manage a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The re-activation of the COVID-19 Safety Plan is a requirement that is in addition to the requirement to have an exposure control plan in place for communicable diseases
What is the difference between an Exposure Control Plan and a COVID-19 Safety Plan?
As a healthcare employer, you are required to have an exposure control plan for communicable diseases in place. This describes how staff will be protected from infectious diseases in the work environment. It includes information on the nature of the hazards and the risks associated with exposure, as well as controls, such as safe work procedures that are implemented to protect staff. Elements of an exposure control plan are listed in section 5.54 and section 6.34(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
The COVID-19 Safety Plan is a formal, written plan that includes measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. It includes more specific protocols for preventing COVID-19 transmission such as occupancy limits, physical distancing, and barriers. The COVID-19 Safety Plan should be posted in the workplace so that it is readily available for review.
What should employers do?
Many operators had COVID-19 Safety Plans earlier in the pandemic. All employers are advised to review their COVID-19 Safety Plans with the involvement and participation of workers to ensure they are current and align with guidance and orders from the provincial health officer.
SafeCare BC has several resources to assist with developing and updating your COVID-19 Safety Plan as well as your exposure control plan.
COVID-19 Safety Plan Templates
The templates below are word documents you can tailor to fit the needs of your workplace.
Please note these links will download a .zip file with a word document template inside.
Exposure Control Plan Resources
The written order regarding COVID-19 Safety Plans has not yet been posted, once this has been posted you will be able to find more details here.
If you have any questions, contact Anna Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.