COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

General Workplace Guidance

This section contains general information on COVID-19 designed to support workplaces and employers.  Lambton Public Health provides advice based on best practices, available evidence and in the interest of employee and community health. Individual employers are responsible for decisions regarding worker safety as per the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and other applicable legislation.  Access the Government of Ontario website for full details on what workplaces can reopen, open with restrictions, and operate as an essential workplace (safety guidelines):

Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Along with provincial government, Lambton Public Health reminds businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing and cleaning in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am concerned that a local business remains open, but feel that they are not an essential service. Who can I contact to take corrective action?

The Government of Ontario developed a list of essential services (review the list regularly as it may change). If a business category is not identified on this list you can call 1-888-444-3659 (Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 9:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to confirm whether it is an essential service.

For information on enforcement visit Lambton Public Health’s COVID-19 Enforcement calls to Municipalities page.

As an essential services employer, how do I make decisions to support prevention of COVID-19 spread in my business?

All employees should understand and comply with the infection prevention policies and practices in place in their workplaces. Employers should use the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers and employees will need to work together to protect their own health and their clients’ health, as well as deliver essential services.

There are important steps to take. This document will provide information to support all who continue to work in the essential services.

Sector Specific Guidelines – Province of Ontario.

When do I send someone home because they have COVID-19 symptoms?

As an employer it is your duty to keep your employees and patrons safe from COVID-19. Here are the specific steps you will need to take if one of your workers has symptoms which may be related to COVID-19, or is diagnosed with COVID-19:

Step 1: Create a Safety Plan
• Use this template – Ontario’s Workplace Safety Plan guidance document

Step 2: Exclude symptomatic workers from the workplace
• If a worker calls in sick or informs you of symptoms, or close contact with someone with symptoms, have them take the self-assessment. Ask the worker to follow any recommendations given by the tool, including being tested and self-isolating.
• If a worker shows symptoms in the workplace, they should return home and self-isolate immediately. If the worker cannot leave immediately, they should be isolated until they are able to leave. Have a plan in place to deal with this and train supervisors on how to handle the situation.
• Ask the worker to contact their doctor or Telehealth Ontario at Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000 for further directions about testing and self-isolation.
• If the worker is very ill and requires urgent medical attention, call 911 and let the operator know that the person may have COVID-19.

Step 3: Contact Lambton Public Health
• Immediately contact Lambton Public Health for guidance on next steps. Public health will provide instructions and do contact tracing if needed.
• To support contact tracing, have a system in place so you can provide information about which people had close interactions with an affected worker. This could include information such as:
    ◦ date and approximate length and frequency of interaction
    ◦ full names
    ◦ contact telephone numbers
    ◦ addresses (for workers) or the name of the visitor’s business

Step 4: Follow Lambton Public Health Guidance
• Lambton Public Health may require:
    ◦ other workers who were exposed are notified and sent home to self-isolate, self-monitor and report any possible COVID-19 symptoms
  &nbsp: ◦ the workplace be temporarily shut down or particular activities be suspended while the affected workplace or area and equipment are disinfected
    ◦ other public health measures are implemented
• Disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by the ill worker as soon as possible. Read Public Health Ontario’s COVID-19 fact sheet about cleaning and disinfection for public settings.
• Self-isolation and return-to-work:
Lambton Public health may require self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days for workers with symptoms, and for those who have had close contact with an individual with symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis.
Symptomatic workers may need to self-isolate for longer based on the advice of Lambton Public Health or their health care provider.

Step 5: Report to Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
• If you are advised that one of your workers has tested positive for COVID-19 due to exposure at the workplace, or that a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), you must give notice in writing within four days to the following:
    ◦ Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
    ◦ workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative
    ◦ worker trade union (if applicable)
• Additionally, you must report any occupationally acquired illnesses to the WSIB within three days of receiving notification of the illness.

For more information, please refer to:
Occupational Health and Safety Act
COVID-19 and Ontario’s Human Right’s Code

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