1 . Develop your Plan
In order to open your business, you must develop a COVID-19 plan outlining how daily operations will be managed to meet the additional measures outlined by the Government. The workplace guidance for business owners outlines the criteria that should be addressed in written workplace policies and procedures established to address the COVID-19 pandemic response. All workplaces are expected to develop and implement these policies and procedures prior to re-opening or continuing operations after May 1, 2020. Industries or business with specialized operations or aspects may be subject to additional guidance. Any additional guidance made available is intended to augment this document. Based on the document, the workplace policies and procedures should outline:
a) Communication related to COVID-19
b) Policies for managing sick staff and/or volunteers
- Employee or volunteer NOT diagnosed with COVID-19
- Employee or volunteer diagnosed with COVID-19
c) Prevention measures including:
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Workplace bathrooms and showers
- Distancing & gatherings in the workplace
- Retail Items
- Other options such as remote work, home delivery, drive through, take-out and curbside pick-up options
The Government of Alberta has provided a template to assist in the planning process to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among your staff and customers.
2. Conduct a hazard assessment
The hazard assessment and control process provides a consistent approach for employers and workers to identify and control hazards in the workplace. It allows everyone to focus their efforts in the right areas, and to develop worker training, inspections, emergency response plans, etc. specific to the hazards at their work sites. The Hazard Assessment and Control handbook provided by the Government of Alberta is a valuable resource tool to guide you through this process. You can also find the formal and site-specific hazard assessment and control templates here.
3. Plan for the Re-opening of your Building
Before occupants return to a building that has been vacated for a significant period of time, building owners, managers and operators may need to complete a variety of pre-return checks, tasks, and assessments to ensure a healthy and safe environment. The safe six workplace readiness checklist linked here can assist in this process.
If your workplace has been closed for some time or has had reduced occupancy, it is important to flush your water system before re-opening to employees and/or customers. Water that has been sitting in your pipes for extended periods can get stale and lead to the growth of microbes that are potentially harmful to human health. Ensure good water quality and safe drinking water by thoroughly flushing your building’s water system.
4. Plan your Workforce Strategy
There may be several things you need to consider when you start to plan your return to work including employment standards changes, along with employment standards rules and workplace requirements for hazard assessments, temporary layoffs, recalls and terminations. You will need to be clear on your appropriate OHS legal response should an employee refuse to return to work or require flexibility around child care issues, which may change from week to week. Make sure you are aware of child care options locally for yourself and your team by using the Government of Alberta child care look up.
You can use the Canadian Business Resilience Network Re-Opening Toolkit found in our Business Resource section.