Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Tips

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Automotive Service Providers

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Introduction

This document is intended for employers, workers and customers/participants of automotive service providers, 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.

Consider the Risks

Complete a workplace risk assessment to identify hazards. Think about situations that in- crease the risk of transmission: how many employees and customers are present, how close employees work together, and the interactions occurring in closed spaces (with poor ventilation) Consider the following:

  • Interactions with customers at the service desk, sales, financing, etc. Are physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass windows) required at reception areas?
  • Are customers allowed to wait for their vehicle service? If so, does the seating area promote physical distancing of at least 2 meters between people?
  • Can the greatest distance possible be maintained if more than one person is working on the same vehicle?
  • What protective measures are in place if pick up and drop off services are still being offered?
  • Frequent contact with high-touch surfaces or shared items.
  • Availability of supplies and facilities necessary for cleaning, disinfecting and frequent hand hygiene.
  • Ability of workers and customers to consistently follow personal preventative measures.
  • Avoiding new hazards when introducing COVID-19 measures.

Communication

  • Inform all workers and customers in advance about any new measures that are in place. This information can be shared online, through advertisements, with notices at the front doors, and verbally by workers.
  • Help customers understand that protective measures and reduced services are necessary, and that their event experience might be different. Ask them to be considerate of workers and other customers.
  • Make sure that all communications are suitable for people’s age, ability, reading level, and language preferences.
  • Ask customers to arrive at their appointment time and to leave promptly after dropping off or picking up their vehicle.
  • Post signs throughout the facility to encourage physical distancing, use of non-medical masks, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, and proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Consider an online or phone-based booking system to help manage the number of customers on site and to reduce waiting.
  • Send any necessary forms electronically.
  • Notify workers and customers of closures of any amenities.
  • Record the names and contact information of all workers and customers to assist with contact tracing if needed. Make sure that privacy is protected, and the list is only used for contact tracing purposes.

Screening

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick or might be sick. Follow self-assessment steps from the Public Health Agency of Canada or your local public health authority.
  • Screen your employees and others before they enter your workplace, following the recommendations provided by your local public health authority. “Active screening” may be legally mandated in some jurisdictions and involves asking questions about a person’s health and possible exposures. Use a checklist or questionnaire provided by your local public health authority.
  • Customers could be asked about illness and exposure risks when they are booking their appointments (if applicable) and again at reception when arriving at the premises.
    • Anyone who does not pass screening should not enter the facility, should wear a medical mask (If unavailable, wear a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask), return home (while avoiding public transit as much as possible), and contact their health care provider or local public health authority and follow their advice.

Physical Distancing

  • Minimize none-essential in-person interactions with people from outside your immediate household. If you have to interact with people you don’t live with, makes sure interactions are as few and as brief as possible and from the greatest distance possible (e.g., at least 2 meters).
  • Do not exceed the maximum number of persons in your facility for your jurisdiction. Follow the occupancy limits established for your jurisdiction.
  • Consider staggered times for workers to arrive to work.
  • Limit the number of customers on site. Only allow customers to enter the facility at their appointment time.
  • Use every other service bay if possible.
  • Rearrange waiting areas and the staff room as needed.
  • Consider installing barriers when physical distancing cannot be maintained (e.g., installing plexiglass at reception and other customer-facing workstations).
  • Restrict non-essential persons from entering the building. Post signs directing customers, suppliers, and vendors to call reception rather than entering without an appointment.

Engineering Controls

  • Install physical barriers, floor markings and other visual cues where needed.
  • Make sure that customers can access needed services without entering other rooms or areas. Use a dedicated and automated entrance and exit if possible. If you prop open doors, do not create a fire safety issue.
  • Establish one-way routes where appropriate.
  • Rearrange and limit the use of common areas. For example, block off some washroom stalls.
  • Change seating layout or availability of seating so that people can maintain physical distancing.

Ventilation

  • Make sure that heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of indoor spaces operate properly.
  • Increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors or other methods. However, do not open windows and doors if it poses a safety risk.
  • Powerful portable cooling fans might increase the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces. Adjust building ventilation systems and air conditioning units instead.
  • Adjust ventilation systems to:
    • Increase filtration efficiency to the highest level appropriate for the system.
    • Increase fresh air flow/percentage of outdoor air (increase percentage of outdoor air in HVAC air supply, open windows and doors, etc.).
    • Limit use of demand-controlled ventilation; keep system running at the optimal setting.
    • Explore the use of portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units.
  • Consult an HVAC professional before making changes to the ventilation system.
  • When operating vehicles, increase the amount of fresh outside air entering the vehicle by opening the windows (weather permitting) and setting the ventilation to outside air.
  • Avoid using the recirculated air option during passenger transport.

Administrative Controls

  • Minimize customer contact with paperwork and surfaces as much as possible.
  • Use touchless payment methods.
  • If you normally offer cars as a loan or shuttle service, consider suspending these services or ensure proper cleaning and disinfection of the vehicles between users.Consider discontinuing picking up or dropping off customers. If you do offer this service, install plexiglass barriers, transport one customer at a time, and clean and disinfect between customers.
  • Remove beverage and snack facilities, or provide condiments (e.g. sugar, cream, stir sticks) in individual packets.
  • Shut off water fountains or replace with water bottle refill stations. Each person should use their own labelled water bottle.
  • Discourage unnecessary physical contact such as hugs, handshakes and high fives.
  • Stagger employee breaks and lunches.
  • Restrict eating and drinking to dedicated areas supplied with handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
  • Limit or remove shared items such as cutlery, dishes, coffee maker and microwave. Ensure these items are cleaned and disinfected between uses.

Personal Hygiene

  • Hand wash and sanitizer stations should be well stocked and easy to find near the entrance and other appropriate areas (e.g., customer service). Make sure they are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Everyone should perform proper hand hygiene when entering and leaving the facility, after using washrooms, before and after eating and drinking, before and after touching shared equipment and surfaces, and after contact with another person.
  • Encourage good respiratory etiquette. Employees and customers should sneeze or cough into a tissue or into the bend of their arm, instead of their hands. Everyone should immediately dispose of used tissues in lined garbage cans and follow up with hand hygiene.
  • Avoid sharing items as much as possible, especially those that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect.
  • Limit use of equipment to one group of users at a time. Clean and disinfect between use.
  • Employees should change out of work clothes before going home and clothes should be laundered as soon as possible after every shift.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Develop a cleaning and disinfection program with a schedule and checklists for all areas and equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect shared work areas, facilities, furniture and equipment between users or vehicle service.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces and objects such as doors, counters, chairs, handles, railings, lounge chairs, table tops, debit machines and ATMs, touchscreens, phones, light switches, faucets, taps, sanitizer dispensers, diaper-changing stations, water bottle refill stations, elevators, and any protective barriers.
  • Discourage the sharing of items that are difficult to clean, sanitize or disinfect. Remove soft furnishings and objects that cannot be easily cleaned (e.g. magazines, newspapers).
  • Place cleaning supplies and lined garbage cans where it is accessible to workers.
  • Do not shake laundry when cleaning clothes, uniforms or overalls. Wear disposable gloves and perform hand hygiene after handling laundry. Clean and disinfect hampers and bins.
  • Use a household or commercial disinfectant to destroy or inactivate the virus.
    • Use a disinfectant with a drug identification number (DIN). This number means that it has been approved for use in Canada.
    • Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of products (E.g., wear gloves, use in well-ventilated area, allow enough contact time for disinfectant to kill germs based on the product being used).
    • If approved household or commercial disinfectant 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. Test surfaces before using a bleach solution. Bleach can be corrosive. Follow instructions for safe handling of bleach.
    • If the use of liquids can be withstood, disinfect high-touch electronic devices (e.g., touch screens, pin pads, keyboards) with alcohol or disinfectant wipes.
  • Clean so that when the surface is wiped, the surface still appears wet.
  • Provide workers with training on cleaning and disinfecting procedures, adequate supplies, and access to required personal protective equipment. Check the product’s safety data sheet or label for safe use instructions.
  • Use dedicated re-useable cleaning materials (towels, sponges, mops, etc.) that can be washed using laundry soap and then dried completely.
  • Dispose of single-use tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials in a plastic lined waste container. Empty garbage at least daily. Use disposable gloves when handling garbage.
  • Replace garbage bins with no-touch receptacles or remove lids that require contact to open.

Vehicle Precautions

When driving a customer vehicle or performing a diagnostic test drive:

  • Ask the customer to remove any used non-medical masks or PPE (respirators, gloves) and used disinfectant wipes from their vehicle and place in a plastic-lined garbage can.
  • Wash and disinfect your hands. Wear a mask.
  • Disinfect the keys or key fob.
  • Open the windows and turn off the air conditioner and fan ventilation systems.
  • Point vents away from their face if you are working on the ventilation system.
  • Disinfect interior touch surfaces, such as door latches and handles, steering wheel, gear shift, control knobs and buttons and seat belt.
  • Minimize the number of surfaces that are touched while driving the vehicle.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands when finished.
  • Repeat these steps before returning the vehicle to the customer.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Continue to use PPE for existing safety hazards and emergencies as directed by applicable laws and your employer.
  • Situations where PPE may be considered for protection from COVID-19 include:
    • Wearing gloves when cleaning as recommended by the product’s safe work instructions or safety data sheet.
    • Wearing disposable gloves when cleaning blood or body fluids in the event an ill individual requires direct contact (i.e. for emergency first aid).
  • If workers need to wear PPE, train them on how to wear, remove, work with, and care for the equipment, and to understand its limitations.
  • Clean and disinfect any shared PPE before you wear it.
  • Wash hands before wearing and after removing PPE.

Non-Medical Masks (NMMs)

  • Follow the mask recommendations as issued by your public health authority. Understand that people may choose to wear masks regardless if there is a formal requirement.
  • A mask should not be worn by anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance (e.g., due to their age or ability).
  • Masks should be well-constructed and well fitting and cover the nose, mouth and chin, Encourage employees and customers to avoid touching their mask while wearing it.
  • Be aware that non-medical masks have limitations, and improper mask use and disposal can increase the risk of infection.
  • Employees and customers should change their mask if it becomes wet or soiled. They may wish to bring a second mask in a clean paper bag, envelope, or container that does not trap moisture. Reusable soiled masks should be stored in a separate bag or container. Employees and customers should be reminded to not touch the outside of the mask while removing it and to wash their hands when they are finished.
  • For some situations, not being able to see the person’s face and mouth clearly may cause difficulties. Consider using a transparent mask if appropriate.
  • For customers who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, offer service accommodation such as providing service outside of the facility, with a mobile keypad, or through a window. Persons with a disability are not required to provide written proof that they cannot wear a mask; however, you also have the right to provide service in different ways to both accommodate their medical needs and protect your employees. Employees who may have health-related concerns associated with wearing a mask should get guidance from their healthcare provider.
  • Know the differences between respirators, surgical masks and non-medical masks and when to use them.

External Service Providers

  • For visits by external services such as security, deliveries, food preparers, contractors, and others:
    • Let them know about your safety requirements before their visit, and work with them to meet their safety requirements.
    • Maintain physical distancing, minimize exposure to workers and attendees, wear non-medical masks, and provide hand washing facilities.
    • Clean and disinfect the work area before and after the service provider does their work.

Human Resources

  • Notify employees in advance if there are changes to screening measures and policies.
  • Set a clear policy for what is expected of employees if they get sick, have symptoms, receive a positive COVID-19 test result, or if an exposure is reported involving a co-worker or customer.
  • On arrival each day, check-in and assess all employees using screening criteria from your local public health authority.
  • Minimize contact during sign-in. Have the supervisor sign in for people (or provide separate pens), or have people text the supervisor. Clean any sign-in devices between users.
  • Adjust employee schedules to reflect any necessary changes.
  • If there are fewer employees available, make sure essential roles such as trained supervision, and first aid or emergency response persons are still present.
  • Encourage employees to only work at one location and assign cohort groups of workers to the same shifts every week if possible.
  • Make sure employees are trained to work safely, including when replacing the duties of others.
  • Submit documents electronically, or wash hands after handling papers.
  • Stagger meetings, breaks, mealtimes, and orientations.
  • Use videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings. If this is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces or outside. Maintain physical distancing and wear masks.
  • Cancel, adjust, or postpone large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
  • Hold verbal or electronic orientations.
  • Remove communal coat check areas and shared footwear or clothing. Allow workers to store their personal items separately or in sealed bins or bags if they do not have lockers.

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 March 03, 2021