Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Tips

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Introduction

This document is intended for employers, workers and participants of the mining 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”.

Employers must:

  • Provide daily reminders and education to all staff about COVID-19 prevention, signs and symptoms.
  • Make sure workers are trained to work safely before replacing the duties of others.
  • Adjust production outputs and schedules to reflect any necessary changes.

Workers must:

  • Continue to follow all safe work procedures. If it is unsafe to work, they should talk to their supervisor, health and safety committee or representative, and/or union.
  • Practice physical distancing by working more than 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.
  • Stay home if they are sick or might be sick. Follow the Public Health Agency of Canada’s steps for self-assessment.
  • Wash their hands at the start of their shift, before eating or drinking, after touching shared items, after using the washroom, and before leaving the site. Remove jewellery while washing.
  • Wear gloves and avoid touching their face.
  • Not share personal items such as communication devices, cigarettes, vaping equipment, clothing, grooming products, or towels.
  • Not share personal protective equipment (PPE) that is intended for their use only.
  • Only wear reusable PPE after it has been cleaned and sanitized between users.
  • Avoid spitting on-site.
  • Remove and wash work clothes as soon as they arrive home or back to camp, and shower at the end of their shift.

Site Sanitation

  • Provide access to hand washing stations (even if it is a spouted water container, catch bucket for water, soap, and paper towels) or provide hand sanitizer. Visibly dirty hands must be washed with soap and water.
  • Increase the number of hand washing and sanitizing stations.
  • Clean offices, washrooms, lunch and break rooms or trailers, and other workspaces every day. Focus on commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, handrails, tables, chairs, pens, tools, radios, vending machines, and kitchen equipment.
  • Regularly clean shared tools, phones, and other devices with alcohol or disinfectant wipes, or wear gloves when cleaning is not possible.
  • Assign one driver per vehicle, or clean shared vehicles between driver changes (e.g., steering wheel, gear shift, controls, interior and exterior door handles, etc).

Site Management

  • Consider limiting only essential visitors on the operation site.
  • Minimize the number of workers at one time on-site. Stagger trades and their work locations, meetings, breaks, tool cribs, safety toolbox talks, and orientations.
  • Ask all persons to check in. Do not allow people on-site if they are sick or might be sick.
  • Minimize contact during sign-in. Have the supervisor sign in for you (or use separate pens), clean devices sign-in between users, or text the supervisor as an alternate sign-in procedure.
  • Submit hazard assessments and documents electronically, or wash hands after handling papers.
  • Control foot traffic patterns to reduce gathering at scaffolds, hoists, washrooms, etc.
  • Designate travel paths so workers do not have to pass each other closely (e.g., one set of stairs for up, another for down) or have workers call out before entering shared spaces.
  • Hold meetings in an outside or large space to allow for physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between people.
  • Hold verbal orientations to avoid handling papers.

Crew Management

  • Maintain physical distancing, unless otherwise unsafe to do so. Keep crews together so that they are comfortable working in close proximity when absolutely necessary.
  • Provide personal protective equipment such as a respirator, face shield, gloves, and long-sleeved shirts, if appropriate and available. Train workers on how to work with and care for PPE, and to understand its limitations.
  • Discuss with crews how to perform work safely while maintaining distance. Modify production schedules if necessary.
  • Limit the number of people allowed in an elevator at one time to accommodate distancing.
  • Consider adding shifts to help maintain physical distance and to accommodate workers with caregiving needs.
  • Make sure the persons present on-site have the necessary skills to operate equipment, perform first aid, supervise, etc.

Camp Management

  • Each person should have their own room, if possible. Clean rooms, at minimum, between changes of personnel.
  • Make sure all cafeterias, washrooms, and other shared areas have adequate ventilation and are ideally cleaned at least once per day.
  • Use household disinfectants or 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.
  • If anyone experiencing symptoms has left camp, thoroughly clean their bunk area and wash their towels, sheets, and clothing separately as soon as possible.
  • Wash sheets and clothing frequently.
  • Use physical distancing strategies for all common areas.
  • Consider closing non-essential common areas, if practical, to prevent the gathering of multiple people.

Transportation

  • Workers should be assessed for symptoms before using group transportation such as a bus or plane to travel to and from the work camp.
  • Anyone that is symptomatic should not use group transportation. Consider alternative transportation arrangements for individuals with symptoms.
  • All efforts should be made to make sure workers with symptoms remain at home, including those with risk factors in the past 14 days or contact with someone who is sick or has travelled.
  • Consult with Public Health to determine the best approach for getting symptomatic individuals to a safe setting without putting others at risk.

If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms

If you have a cough, fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing or any other screening criteria:

  • Immediately self-isolate in a separate space or designated area, with your own bathroom if possible.
  • Immediately notify your supervisor or most appropriate contact, who will:
    • Notify their public health agency for further assessment and guidance.
    • Call 911 or emergency services if symptoms are life threatening.
    • Arrange for food and other essential items to be delivered to you, with appropriate precautions for delivery and pick up of items.

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