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How to Create a Back to Work Policy - Workplace Health and Safety and COVID-19

How to Create a Back to Work Policy - Workplace Health and Safety and COVID-19

Source: May 11, 2020


Returning to Safe Operation

Employers preparing to resume operations will need to have a safety plan that assesses the risk of COVID-19 transmission in their workplace, and develops measure to reduce these risks. You are not required to submit your plans for approval by WorkSafeBC but you may be asked to provide them during WorkSafeBC inspection. 

You will need to develop a health and safety working at home policy which includes at minimum, the topics below:

  • Hazard and risk assessment of the at-home workplace
  • Procedures for working safely at home, including ergonomics
  • Evacuation from the home in an emergency and emergency contacts
  • Education and training
  • Worker’s duty to follow safe work procedures
  • Reporting workplace injuries
  • Check-in procedures


Visit for:

•Working from home: A guide to keeping your workers healthy and safe

•Setting up, organizing, and working comfortably in your home workspace


What Employers Should Do

a. Determine who should be at the workplace.

b. Create policies that are in line with the recommendations and emergency measures laid out by the provincial health officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

c. Consider engineering controls (e.g. plexiglass barriers).

d.  Implement physical distancing measures

  • Reconfigure how the workplace is set up
  • Stop in-person meetings and revise shift schedules
  • Change work processes and practices

e. Enhance cleaning and hygiene measures:

  • Provide supplies
  • Put up reminders for personal hygiene practices
  • Remove shared items
  • Disinfect high -contact areas and items

f. Train, supervise, and document.

g. Ensure staff can raise safety concerns.

h. Work with joint occupational health and safety committee (JOHSC) members or worker representatives to:

  • Identify and find solutions to workplace health and safety issues.
  • Includes concerns about exposure to COVID-19.
  • Joint committees must continue to meet regularly as required under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

i. Limit essential work travel and ban non - essential travel. For instances where work travel is required, consider practices to encourage physical distancing between workers.

j. Follow other preventative measures related to cleaning and hygiene


What Workers Should Do:

  • Know when not to come to work.
  • Follow preventative measures while at work.
  • Comply with the employer’s instructions around minimizing exposure.
  • Practice physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, and personal hygiene.
  • Report hazards and refuse unsafe work.
  • Take steps to minimize exposure to COVID -19 while away from work.


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