Communicable Disease Prevention FAQs

Employers no longer need a COVID-19 operational plan in a Green health zone. However, employers must continue to ensure they have implemented measures to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases in the workplace and they must continue to monitor for any changes in Public Health guidance. See Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employers.

If your health zone remains in green, you aren’t required to continue these measures, regardless of your employees’ vaccination status. We recommend you maintain certain measures, based on the risk of contracting COVID-19 and/or other communicable diseases in your workplace. Employers should assess the workplace to determine the level of transmission risk and the required and recommended measures. Please see Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employers.

Similar to how Public Health has managed outbreaks during the State of Emergency, you will be contacted by Public Health and advised on isolation requirements, cleaning, staff communications and other required measures.

You do not. However, your workplace may choose to continue following the stricter protocols as part of a communicable disease prevention plan. Employees need to follow measures established by their employer.

Yes, with caution. You may choose to continue following the stricter protocols as part of a communicable disease prevention plan. Employees need to follow the procedure established by their employer. Please see Ventilation and Air Circulation.

Yes. If you feel those measures contribute to a safe work environment and they do not introduce new hazards to the workplace or violate protected grounds under the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, you may choose to maintain these measures. Please refer to Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employers for a planning tool and information on other considerations for establishing a communicable disease prevention plan for your workplace.

Yes, exposure to (or transmission of) COVID-19 or other communicable disease in the workplace might trigger reporting requirements under 43(4) depending on the circumstances. If the case is confirmed positive by Public Health, the employer must report the exposure to WorkSafeNB by email (compliance.conformite@ws-ts.nb.ca) or by calling 1 800 999-9775. See Legislative Interpretations – Biological, physical and chemical agents – Definition and reporting requirements.

You can ask employees and customers about their vaccination status if your business is in a sector designated by GNB to require proof of vaccination for entry. If they refuse to answer or show proof, you can deny entry.

Unvaccinated employees can be accommodated by measures such as remote work, physical barriers or masks. However, these measures cannot be imposed if they are discriminatory in nature. Please consult the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for advice on grounds of discrimination.

 

 

 

As an employee, you have an obligation to ensure your own safety and those around you (see Section 12 of the OHS Act). Our Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employees can help you understand your responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with the measures your employer has in place to prevent the transmission of communicable disease. If you are still concerned about your safety, identify the concern to your supervisor. If you are not satisfied with the response from your supervisor, advise the JHSC at your workplace, if there is one. If you believe it is unsafe to do the work you can refuse, please consult our resources on how to exercise your right to refuse unsafe work.

Yes. If your employer has assessed the level of risk in the workplace and identifies measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing, physical barriers and other controls, as required to mitigate the transmission of communicable disease, you must follow those measures.

During an inspection, employers may be asked to demonstrate practices in place to prevent communicable disease transmission in their workplace and that they are following any orders, guidance, or recommendations from Public Health that apply to their workplace. If you have a written communicable disease plan, an officer may ask to see it. If you do not have one, you may be asked to describe the measures you have implemented to mitigate communicable disease.

In the Green phase, employers are not required to limit the number of customers and workers in their workplace. In cases of elevated risk, Public Health may direct employers in a specific region, industry or workplace to implement occupancy limits.

In the Green phase, workplaces do not need barriers as part of ongoing communicable disease prevention measures. However, it is recommended that you maintain some existing COVID-19 protocols that do not negatively impact business operations. If you have existing physical barriers in place that are not interfering with operations, you should consider keeping them in place. If directional arrows are effective in managing areas of congestion in your workplace and they do not negatively impact business operations, it is recommended that you keep these in place.

Communicable disease prevention is based on basic principles for maintaining healthy and safe workplaces. See Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employees and and Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employers Depending on your line of work, your professional association or industry association may have additional guidance.

Please consult the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for advice on vaccination policies. Generally, an employer may be allowed to impose mandatory vaccination rules if these are not explicitly disallowed by public health authorities. These rules should be reasonable, taking into consideration several factors, and must not violate or be perceived to violate human right protections granted in the Human Rights Act. See the Human Rights Commission’s guidelines related to COVID-19. If a workplace establishes a mandatory vaccination policy, they must also be prepared to accommodate workers who are unable to be vaccinated or have remaining risk factors following vaccination – to the point of undue hardship.

Employers are no longer required to conduct daily health screening. As part of communicable disease prevention however, employers must continue to have policies and practices in place so sick workers can avoid being in the workplace. While not required, some employers may choose to maintain health-check protocols.

Some fundamental elements of communicable disease prevention are similar to the measures employers and workers have been following during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Not going to the workplace if you believe you are sick from exposure to a communicable disease, such as flu or COVID-19.
  • Healthy hand-hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Physically distancing from other workers when possible and using a mask.
  • Maintaining a clean work environment.
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation.
  • Supporting employees in receiving vaccinations for vaccine-preventable conditions (to the extent you are able).

You can choose to include these measures in your communicable disease prevention plan if your assessment of transmission risk indicates that existing protocols would mitigate that risk. See Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for New Brunswick Employers.

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