Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions necessary to reduce risk, workplaces will not be the same as we left them and we will need to adjust. And while we all try to establish a new normal at our workplaces, there will certainly be an added layer of health and safety measures (physical distancing, screening, handwashing, etc.) required to ensure the safety of our workers, our customers and our visitors.
This guide is designed to offer the guidance that New Brunswick workplaces need to help get business back up and running safely considering the pandemic. It also includes a template operational plan for reopening a business.
Make no mistake: the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work. These changes extend to how individuals commute, enter workplaces, interact with others, manage tasks, and more.
“As we define our new normal in a COVID-19 world, workplace health and safety and the importance of strong safety leadership are more critical than ever before,” said Doug Jones, CEO of WorkSafeNB. “As a business owner, we know you’re wondering about how best to keep your staff and customers safe.”
The first step is understanding the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission in your workplace. Jobs within a workplace vary, and so too will the risks of exposure. Performing an overall assessment of the workplace is important.
Understanding the risks will help you determine appropriate precautionary measures. The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to ensure employees and customers practise physical distancing. This requires maintaining at least two metres of separation between employees, customers, and visitors.
While this guide will provide recommendations for workplaces that can and those that cannot maintain two-metre distancing, WorkSafeNB encourages all workplaces to think outside of the traditional work environment and consider alternate working arrangements, such as working remotely, flexible hours, staggered start times, and the use of virtual meetings rather than in-person.