Zone Scale

 

Stay at home order in effect

A province-wide declaration of emergency and a stay-at-home order are in effect as of April 8 at 12:01 a.m. The COVID-19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused during this time

COVID-19 Safety Plan

The information below supports development of a safety plan and contains sample answers or factors that should be taken into consideration.

Who needs to have a Safety Plan?

The Re-Opening Ontario Act, 2020 requires all businesses, places, facilities or establishments that are open to have a safety plan available upon request. The safety plan must be posted in a visible location for individuals working in or attending the location. Fines can result from not having a safety plan prepared, posted and available for inspectors to view.

Elements of a Safety Plan

Active screening

Active screening involves making sure every employee and customer is asked a series of questions about COVID-19 symptoms, travel or exposure to COVID-19 cases. If someone has one or more COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to a COVID-19 case, they should not be permitted to work (if an employee) or come into your business (if a customer, supplier or contractor).

Infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures

Steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections include wearing masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette - coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve. These steps are important because active screening will not identify the following:
  • individuals with asymptomatic COVID-19 infections, i.e. people who are infectious but who have no symptoms of infection
  • individuals with pre-symptomatic COVID-19 infections, i.e. people who are infectious for two or three days before they develop COVID-19 symptoms

Cleaning and disinfection

The most likely route of COVID-19 transmission is from person-to-person spread of infected respiratory droplets when people are close together, but contaminated surfaces may also spread the virus. Therefore, frequent cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with an approved disinfectant is an important infection control measure.

Developing a Safety Plan

It is possible that someone in your workplace will contract COVID-19. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) can support you and provide resources to help respond to such a situation.

Resources required to develop a safety plan are provided by the Ministry of Health. Six questions in the safety plan are outlined below to help with development of your plan:

  • How will you ensure all workers know how and are able to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?
  • How will you screen for COVID-19?
  • How will you control the risk of transmission in your workplace?
  • What will you do if there is a potential case of, or suspected exposure to, COVID-19 at your workplace?
  • How will you manage any new risks caused by changes to the way you operate your business?
  • How will you make sure your plan is working?
Keeping employees safe from exposure

Factors to consider for keeping employees and customers safe from exposure and action

Screening: active screening is mandatory for all workplaces

Screen all individuals daily prior to entering workplace using the 

COVID-19 worker and employee screening tool

 Employee education: training on procedures

The following links are provided for employee training and education:

Daily update on the status of COVID-19 cases in the Thunder Bay District

COVID-19 Reference document for symptoms

Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act

Workplace personal protective equipment (PPE)

How to safely use a non-medical mask

COVID-19 support for workers

 Workplace policies

The Township of Gillies adopts best practices from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, The Federal Government and the Provincial Government. If staff has travelled, feels unwell or been exposed the following government recommendations apply:

How to quarantine and self isolate at home when you have been exposed to COVID-19

Mandatory quarantine and isolation

Know the law: sector-specific requirements, regulations and by-laws

Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace

Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c. 17 

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 16, Sched. A

Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act

 Mental health supports

Remind staff of free mental health supports:

Mind Beacon

Ontario support for people

 Employee communications

Communicate clearly and often with employees, including:

  • Important safety measures, public health measures and workplace policies by email, social media, team meetings or intercom announcements.
  • In languages spoken by employees.
Post safety plans and other important documents in a common area.

 

Screening for COVID-19

Screen all individuals (workers, volunteers, suppliers and contractors) daily prior to entering the workplace. Screening may be done in-person, online or verbally by using the self assessment tool.

COVID-19 worker and employee screening tool

COVID-19 customer screening tool

In addition to active screening a poster is visible to the public on the main entrance. Names of employees, contractors and visitors are recorded. Employees check their temperatures upon entrance prior each day with a new mask provided.

Doors remain locked to the public and appointments are available as deemed essential by administrative staff. Procedures will be provided to the person during the appointment set up.

Controlling the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace
 
 Physical distancing and barriers
 

All individuals should have 2 metres (6 feet) between themselves and others.

When it is not possible to have employees physically distant from co-workers, customers and others, consider using barriers for separation.

To lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in the workplace:

  • Gillies Council offers a work from home option for employees.
  • The municipal office is closed to the public with appointments available for essential services.
  • Restricted number of individuals allowed into the vestibule depending upon the current zone as prescribed by the provincial government.
  • No public access to washroom facilities.
  • New desks and barriers are installed to ensure that employees are spaced far enough apart.
  • Employee work times and schedules are different to reduce people gathering, as employees become vaccinated this will change.
  • The municipality promotes contactless drop off options for tax payments.
 Personal protective equipment (PPE) and masking

Masks are required to be worn by all staff, council members, and visitors. 

Staff may remove masks to eat and drink on breaks while they are seated at their desks.

 Hygiene practices

Display posters promoting hygiene practices, handwashing and respiratory etiquette strategically in the workplace.

Where soap and water are not available, supply hand sanitizer and remind customers and staff to wash/sanitize hands frequently.

Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as point of sale transaction equipment, elevator buttons, keyboards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, door knobs, light switches, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, and washrooms.

Use cleaners and disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. Use brands with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) that are approved by Health Canada.

 Ventilation
 

Enclosed and crowded spaces increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Ensure that air-handling (HVAC) systems are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and meet industry guidelines and standards.

The Ontario Ministry also recommends considering:

  • Portable air cleaners
  • Opening windows and doors where possible
  • Ventilation and air exchange after regular business hours
  • Use of outdoor space when possible for meetings, breaks, and client interactions such as curbside pick-up
Management of potential case or exposure
Steps for managing a potential case or exposure of COVID-19 in the workplace

  • Direct individual feeling unwell to stay home or go home, self-isolate and book an appointment to get tested for COVID-19
  • The back coat room in the municipal office is designated as the COVID-19 isolation room in the event a staff member feels ill. This room has a door to the outside, windows for ventilation and near the washroom facilities if needed. Other departments should provide their own plan for an isolation area.
  • Clean and disinfect areas where the individual with COVID-19 symptoms was located and any surfaces they may have touched as soon as possible. Follow public health advice for enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures to reduce the risk of spread in the setting.
  • Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 623-2369 for guidance.
 Steps to take if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace
  • Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 623-2369 for guidance.
  • Employees in close contact (less than 2 metres away from another individual, especially for a prolonged period of time) with the case, have had potential exposure and will be required to self-isolate.
  • Keep a list of names and contact information for each person in your workplace who had or may have had contact with the individual who tested positive. This list should be made available if requested by public health. The information must be kept in a locked and secured location. 
  • Communicate clearly and often with your other employees while keeping the personal health information of the employee with COVID-19 confidential. Since the workplace is small, others may know who this employee is, however as an employer we must do everything we can to safeguard the personal health information of your employees. 
  • Report to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development within 4 calendar days and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 3 calendar days if you were advised that one of your employees has tested positive due to an exposure at the workplace. For more information contact the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551 or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board at (416)344-1000 or 1-800-387-0750.
  • Employees can return to work at a minimum of 14 days after the start of their symptoms or, if they didn’t have symptoms, since the date of their test, as long as they no longer have fever and symptoms are improving or resolved. Other employees who were close contacts (regardless if they test positive or negative for COVID-19) may only return to work after the 14 day self-isolation period. You should not require a repeat test or physician note as a condition of return.

 

Managing new business risks from COVID-19
 
Increased employee absences as a result of COVID-19 infection, self-isolate requirements or to care for others in their family who have COVID-19
  • Cross train staff
  • Allow staff to work remotely
  • Explore the use of a server
 Employee supports for stress and job transitions
  • Provide weekly staff meetings
  • Communicate through phone calls and email often
  • Promote mental health resources as they become available
  • Promote the Employee Assistance Plan
Financial strain due the pandemic and ability to supply necessary Personal Protective Equipment and personnel needed for increased safety requirements

How to source PPE for employers

Financial support for businesses

 Working remotely: ergonomics and internet connectivity
  • Permit employees to use office equipment such as chairs and computer monitors at home
  • Have a server set up and provide a phone connection for employees working remotely
Management of potential case or exposure
 
Safety plan

Review completed by:

Laura Bruni, Clerk-Treasurer 

Franki Dacosta, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer

Council

Next Review: Beginning of each month

Operations (day-to-day management of establishment)

Completed by:

Laura Bruni, Clerk-Treasurer 

Franki Dacosta, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer

Next Review: Beginning of each month

Communications to employees & patrons

Completed by:

Laura Bruni, Clerk-Treasurer 

Franki Dacosta, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer

Next Review: Beginning of each month

Contact tracing process / record of patrons including data storage and destruction

Completed by:

All staff in each department. Records are to be saved in a secure location for 90 days. All records are to be shredded after 90 days, or until there is a ministry prescribed amount, whichever is shorter.

Next Review: Beginning of each month