Ontario releases safety guidelines as more businesses set to open this week

Jun 16 2020, 10:09 am

The Ontario government is launching a new toolkit to offer workplaces tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people go back to work during Stage 2 of reopening the province.

The goal is to provide employers with a new general workplace guide, to help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers, and clients.

The guide includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed for workers.

On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford said that the province needs to give workers the “confidence” to return to work and to allow workers to adapt to the changing economy.

“As more regions enter Stage 2 of reopening, we want to give businesses the tools and resources they need to adapt and succeed in this new environment,” said Ford.

“By providing this guide on COVID-19 workplace safety, employers, employees, and customers can have the confidence they need to resume business as usual with the right health and safety measures in place.”

The government’s first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own COVID-19 safety plan.

The materials will help employers identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects.

It will also determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and PPE including face and eye protection.

Additionally, workplaces must create a safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer’s workplace, and implement the plan.

Most regions of the province can enter into Stage 2 of the economy reopening except for Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex.

Twenty-four regions entered the next stage on June 12, with another seven slated to this Friday.

Ontario’s day-over-day new coronavirus cases have also been heading in a downward trend with case count being below 200 for the last three days.