As of last week (July 3, 2020), WorkSafeBC has levied COVID-19 related Health & Safety orders against 334 businesses here in BC – with nearly a third of them being against service industry businesses. Hair salons, schools, hospitals, gyms, hotels, restaurants, and other similar service industry businesses have accounted for 104 of WorkSafeBC’s recent H&S orders due to inadequate responses to COVID-19 protocols.
The next most-common offending industry is manufacturing with 82 orders issued, which includes meat processing, breweries, sawmills, and pharmaceuticals. Not far behind with 65 orders issued is general trade, the segment that includes retail and wholesale operations, supermarkets, and service stations.
Although most employers are doing their due diligence when it comes to meeting their industry-specific H&S guidelines, those that don’t can be hit with an order to comply which can carry financial penalties if not obeyed. WorkSafeBC has conducted 12,646 on-site inspections this year to date, and will continue to do so as the pandemic continues. WorkSafeBC uses these inspections as a way to verify that employers have adequate safety plans in place and are meeting their obligations to manage the risk of COVID-19 in their workplaces. During the verification phase of B.C.’s Restart Plan, officers may call or visit unannounced – the onus is on business owners and operators to ensure that they are in compliance.
“Overall, the vast majority of employers are taking health and safety very seriously during the re-opening. Our inspections are finding that businesses want to be in compliance, and our prevention officers are providing support to help them have an effective COVID-19 Safety Plan,” stated Ivy Yuen, media relations representative in an email to The Tri-City News.
Common sense and good-faith efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus in your workplaces goes a long way to demonstrate compliance with WorkSafeBC’s requirements. Offering hand sanitizer to customers, installing physical barriers between clients and staff, and using products to stop secondary contact transmission vectors and ensure social distancing protocols can help your business be compliant with necessary COVID-19 protocols.