Now that the dark cloud of Covid 19 is beginning to slowly lift, construction projects are beginning to pick up where they left off, and workers are returning to the job site. Naturally, this is great news not only for the people who earn a living in construction, but also the economy as a whole, and the mental health of our nation.
We want to work.
As we cautiously return to the job sites, we have to accept that things are going to be much different than they used to be. We have all heard the steady drum beat about distancing and use of masks for months now in our social lives and it has become fairly ingrained in our daily lives. However, when we return to work it is going to be a different landscape than the one we were used to, and we have to evolve our procedures and way of thinking if we are going to make this new transition as seamless as possible.
The last thing we want is a second wave of Covid, and the best way to approach this very real concern is to simply take ownership of the prevention of a future outbreak. If we had been prepared for the first wave, the pandemic never would have gotten it’s legs, and we would have avoided a global shutdown. Thankfully, we are now prepared and taking a proactive approach to preventing a second wave, and we continue to refine new innovative solutions to keep our workforce safe.
A recent article discussed this very issue and noted that “A number of jurisdictions have provided specific guidance on how to maintain health and safety in the reopening workplace and between returning workers. Generally, employers in Canada will have to develop reasonable measures to:
Prevent the risk of transmission of infection among workers, volunteers or (as applicable) patrons;
Provide a rapid response if a worker, volunteer or member of the public develops symptoms of illness while at the place of business; and
Maintain high levels of hygiene.
Although government orders and recommendations may vary by jurisdictions there are a number of measures employers can follow to work towards ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.
As a starting point, before allowing employees to return to the workplace, employers across Canadian jurisdictions may need to consider:
Properly identifying Covid-19 health risks in the workplace;
Ensuring compliance with all legal requirements that apply depending on the jurisdiction and industry; and
Preparing effective risk mitigation strategies.”
It further discussed the responsibility of employers on a post-Covid construction site stating “employers in Canada are required to:
provide workers with information, instruction, training and supervision on how to work safely;
ensure supervisors are informed of what is required to protect workers’ health and safety on the job;
create workplace health and safety policies and procedures;
ensure parties at the workplace comply with the relevant workplace health and safety policies and procedures;
ensure workers wear the required protective equipment and have received proper training on how to use it.’
These are very practical, achievable guidelines that as we move forward we can all easily embrace, from veterans on the job site, to people who are new to the trade.
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