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Communication and training are essential to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Workers have the ‘Right to Know’ about potential workplace hazards, including COVID-19 transmission risks and how to protect themselves and others. Clients need instructions to understand what is required of them when visiting your workplace. Here are recommendations for how and what to communicate about COVID-19.
Tailor the communication and training to your workplace situation:
- Use accessible formats and languages appropriate to your workers and clients, to make sure they understand the information provided.
- There are many communication methods available to make sure that the information reaches your audience:
- Worker e-learning, training sessions, and safety/toolbox talks
- During client appointment registration (online or over the phone)
- Websites, apps, texts, e-mails, social media platforms, blogs, etc.
- Hardcopy mailing lists, newsletters, and local newspapers
- Signs and infographics
- Floor markings and barriers to show where people should walk and stand
- Video slide displays
- Verbal reminders from supervisors and staff
- Choose visible locations such as at the front entrance, reception or waiting room, breakrooms, bulletin boards, washrooms, and at hand sanitizer dispensers.
- Clearly mark furniture, equipment, and facilities that are closed.
Train your workers about COVID-19, including:
- What COVID-19 is, and the disease symptoms.
- How, when, and why to perform screening.
- What to do if they or a client feels sick or may have been exposed.
- The risks of transmission, including those specific to your workplace and job activities.
- The workplace COVID-19 safety plan.
- How to protect themselves and others by layering multiple COVID-19 control measures and personal preventive practices.
- Work processes, procedures, and policies that are new or updated because of COVID-19 (e.g., sick-leave, family care, telework, accommodation for workers at higher risk, etc.).
- How to properly put on and remove, wear, and care for face masks and any personal protective equipment (PPE) they are required to wear.
- How to safely use cleaning and disinfection chemicals (e.g., manufacturers safe-use instructions or Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System WHMIS).
- How to stay informed about COVID-19 using reputable sources.
- The benefits of vaccination.
- Worker rights and responsibilities during the pandemic. (Note that existing rights and responsibilities and the internal responsibility system still apply).
- How to safely manage conflict with a person who is not following control measures.
- How to access wellness and mental health support and resources, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
- How to access government economic support resources.
Make sure your clients and visitors are also informed about COVID-19 and how your workplace is responding to the pandemic:
- Remind them to follow COVID-19 precautions such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, and performing hand hygiene.
- Inform them that your policies, products, and services might be different than previously experienced or expected due to COVID-19.
- Remind them to be considerate of your workers, other clients, and the environment (e.g., avoid littering used masks and wipes).
- Consider preparing a COVID-19 information package for clients to read and acknowledge before they book services or arrive for an appointment.
- Cooperate with external service providers to support their COVID-19 precautions, such as trades contractors, supply delivery services, and regulatory inspectors.
As the pandemic situation continues to evolve:
- Stay up to date on current legal requirements and resources from your local public health authorities and jurisdictional Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulator.
- Continue to review and update your communication and training materials, work practices, and corporate policies.
- Monitor compliance and repeat the communication and training as often as needed.
- Encourage workers to report any COVID-19 concerns to their employer, supervisor, health and safety committee or representative, or union if present.
- Provide your workers with an Essential Services Worker Letter if required.
- Be available to answer frequently asked questions and provide support to workers and clients.