Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Tips

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Airline and Ground Crews

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Introduction

This document is intended for employers, workers and participants of the airline and ground crew sector, as an overview of potential hazards in the workplace due to COVID-19.

In all cases, guidance from local public health authorities must be followed and general COVID-19 prevention practices should be implemented, as outlined in Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19.

Airport Practices

  • Increase ventilation and fresh air return where possible.
  • Ground crews should maintain distancing and follow good practices for hand hygiene, sanitation, personal health and meetings.
  • Clearly communicate to passengers any new practices and policies that will affect their flight or service experiences. These announcements can be done via notices within the airport, and electronically.
  • Mark the floor with 2 metre (6 feet) distances to promote physical distancing at check-in counters, self check-in machines, baggage collection area, etc.
  • Place additional hand sanitizer stations at entrances and exits, and near other heavily travelled areas.
  • Increase disinfection of all hard surfaces using appropriate cleaners. If household or commercial disinfectant cleaning products are not available, hard surfaces can be disinfected using a mixture of 5 mL of bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) and 250 mL of water. Make sure the solution is in contact with the surface for 1 minute.
  • Provide disinfectant wipes for baggage carts.
  • Maintain physical distancing while conducting traveller health checks.
  • If a traveller has been denied boarding for failing a health check, notify the traveler that airlines must deny boarding for 14 days unless a medical certificate is presented stating the symptoms are not related to COVID-19. Also inform the traveller that, as stated by Transport Canada, they must:
    • use private transportation to immediately go into self-isolation for 14 days
    • practice physical distancing
    • practice good hygiene frequently, including proper hand washing and coughing/sneezing into your elbow or a tissue
    • when available, wear a mask to protect others.

Sanitation

  • Make sure washrooms are cleaned frequently, have running water, and are stocked with soap, paper towels, and plastic lined waste containers. Visibly dirty hands must be washed with soap and water.
  • Make sure all aircraft have access to soap and running water, as per federal requirements.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in crew areas such as the galleys, service areas, check-in desks, help desks, etc.
  • Clean offices, lunchrooms, and workspaces, at least once per day, and more often for high-traffic areas and contact surfaces. Focus on frequently touched and shared surfaces such as keys, doors, handles, handrails, light switches, shelves, countertops, drawers, keyboards and mice, touch screens, payment keypads, cash drawers, pens, tools, phones, radios, vending machines, tables, chairs, and kitchen equipment.
  • Clean any shared equipment, communication devices, demonstration items, trolley carts, phones, tablets, or touch screens with alcohol or disinfectant wipes between users.
  • Disinfect passenger transport carts and vehicles between users. Focus on the steering wheel, door handles, knobs, and any other high-contact areas.
  • Follow all Transport Canada and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cleaning aircraft, especially after flights with a sick traveller who may have a communicable disease.
  • Make sure workers understand the risks and safety precautions when using cleaning products, including protection and training for those who clean the aircraft.
  • Provide workers with the personal protective equipment they need to safely use cleaning products and make sure they use them correctly.
  • Use disposable gloves and aprons when collecting waste items from passengers.
  • Dispose of used tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials in a plastic lined waste container.

Personnel Health

Tips for Employers

  • Ask all workers to check in when they arrive for work. Do not allow people on-site if they are sick or might be sick.
  • Monitor health before, during and after travel. If workers are sick or suspect they have had an exposure, make sure they stay home or in their hotel.
  • Minimize contact during sign-in. Have the supervisor do roll call and sign in for people (or provide separate pens), or have people text their supervisor. Clean any sign-in devices between users.
  • Remove communal coat check areas and shared footwear or clothing. Allow workers to store their personal items in separate lockers or in sealed bins/bags. Provide designated uniforms that are laundered by a service or encourage workers to wear clothes that can be washed frequently.

Tips for Workers

  • Inform your air operator if you are unwell. The air operator should inform local health authorities at both the departure and arrival airports.
  • Submit all documents such as reports and forms electronically, or wash hands after handling papers.
  • Do not share cutlery or tableware.

Layovers and Hotel Stays

  • Use private transportation when travelling between the airport and hotel.
  • Minimize contact with ground crew and time spent in public spaces.
  • It may be helpful to provide an “essential worker letter”. While this letter is not legally required, it may be useful when dealing with law enforcement personnel enforcing a local “shelter in place” declaration.
  • Upon arrival to your hotel room, wipe contact surfaces such as the doorknobs, handles, counters, remote control, telephone, bedside table, and fridge door.
  • Stay in your hotel room as much as possible and use in-room dining or delivery service.
  • Continue to clean hands frequently.
  • If you are returning home, be aware of the COVID-19 risk in your community.
  • Follow advice from local health authorities, avoid crowded places, and practice physical distancing.

Meetings

  • Stagger meetings, breaks, team talks, and orientations to minimize the number of workers in one place.
  • Hold in-person meetings outdoors or in large areas that allow for physical distancing.
  • Communicate corporate information electronically.
  • Hold worker orientations verbally to avoid touching papers.

It is important that mental health resources and support are provided to all workers, including access to an employee assistance program, if available.

For further information on COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Note that this guidance is just some of the adjustments organizations can make during a pandemic. Adapt this list by adding your own good practices and policies to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Disclaimer: As public and occupational health and safety information is changing rapidly, local public health authorities should be consulted for specific, regional guidance. This information is not intended to replace medical advice or legislated health and safety obligations. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.

Document last updated April 15, 2020