COVID-19 Safety Plan

Home COVID-19 Safety Plan

International Timberframes (ITF) is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our employees. A combination of measures will be used to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our workplace as we resume the “new normal” level of operations.  Our Safety Plan will protect not only our own members, but also others who enter our premises. All ITF employees and visitors must follow the procedures outlined in this plan to prevent or reduce exposure to COVID-19.

ITF Safety Plan has been developed in consultation with the Health and Safety Committee and other team members and is based on guidance published by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC:

This document will be updated as new information becomes available. Published: July, 2020.

HEALTH HAZARDS OF COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. While many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown, mild to severe illness has been reported for confirmed cases. It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to appear after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:  fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. Other symptoms have been reported such as skin rash and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Transmission

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it (such as tools, tables, coffee machine, doorknobs, telephones etc), then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.

REDUCING THE RISK OF PERSON-TO-PERSON TRANSMISSION

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading through droplets in the air, it is necessary to implement protocols to protect against the identified risks. Different protocols offer different levels of protection. Wherever possible, the protocol that offers the highest level of protection should be used. Second, third, or fourth level protocols are considered if the first level isn’t practicable or doesn’t completely control the risk. In some cases more than one level of controls may be needed to address the risk. WorkSafeBC has described the order in how to reduce the risk in the Hierarchy Of Controls:

RESPONSIBILITIES OF WORKPLACE PARTIES

Employer Responsibilities

ITF is committed to:

  • Ensure that the materials (for example hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies and washing facilities) and other resources (for example, worker training materials) required to implement and maintain the plan are readily available where and when they are required.
  • Select, implement, and document the appropriate site-specific control measures.
  • Ensure that ITF employees are educated and trained to an acceptable level of competency.
  • Ensure that ITF employees use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) — for example, masks if required.
  • Direct work in a manner that eliminates or minimizes the risk to ITF employees
  • Conduct a periodic review of the plan’s effectiveness. This includes a review of the available control technologies to ensure that these are selected and used when practical.
  • Maintain records of inspections.
  • Ensure that a copy of this Safety Plan is available to all ITF employees.

Employee Responsibilities

ITF employees are committed to:

  • Know the hazards of the workplace.
  • Follow established work procedures as directed by the employer.
  • Use any required PPE as instructed.
  • Report any unsafe conditions or acts to their supervisor.
  • Know how and when to report exposure incidents.

ITF SAFETY PROTOCOLS

ITF safety protocols and procedures are organized into the following groups:

  1. General Safety Protocols
  2. ITF Specific Safety Protocols

General Safety Protocols

Physical Distancing

As defined by the BC Centre for Disease Control, physical distancing means limiting close contact with others. When outside home, practicing physical distancing by keeping two meters (six feet) away from one another, is something we can all do to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

All employees are to practice the following physical distancing guidelines: 

  • Minimize close-contact interactions with customers and other employees whenever possible. 
  • Whenever possible, keep at least two meters (six feet) distance between yourself and others. 
  • Do not shake hands with customers and other visitors, nod or wave instead.

Hand Washing

Frequent and proper handwashing is recommended to prevent all viral respiratory infections and other illnesses. Proper hand washing helps prevent the transfer of infectious material from the hands to other parts of the body — particularly the eyes, nose, and mouth — or to other surfaces that are touched.  If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) or hand sanitizer to clean your hands.

In addition to other situations not included here, employees must wash their hands:

  • After handling materials that may be contaminated
  • Before and after using mutual tools
  • Before and after breaks, and when using washroom facilities (don’t forget to do it before: smoking, handling contact lenses, or applying makeup)

ITF has 3 handwashing stations: in the kitchen, in the washroom and in the “chopsaw room”.


Hand washing procedure:

Personal Protective Equipment

Face coverings or masks are protective layers of absorbent fabric (such as cotton) that snugly fit over the nose and mouth. Masks help minimize the spread of potentially infected material from the wearer to other people. Employees may choose to wear a cloth mask if they wish.
Gloves are not deemed necessary except when recommended by the cleaning or disinfectant product manufacturer.
PPEs must be sanitized or disposed of after each use.

Cough/sneeze etiquette

Employees are expected to follow cough/sneeze etiquette, which is a combination of measures that minimizes the transmission of diseases via droplet or airborne routes.

Cough/sneeze etiquette includes the following components:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Use tissues to contain secretions, and dispose of them promptly in a waste container.
  • Turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands regularly.

Employee illness policy

  1. Self-Assessment
    Employees must review the self-assessment signage located by the front door and throughout the shop/office each day before their shift, to attest that they are not feeling sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms. The employer will also visually monitor employees daily to check for any symptoms, ask employees the status of their health and how they are regarding their safety. If unsure, an online self-assessment tool can be used at https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en or the COVID-19 BC Support App.

    2. Developing COVID-19 Symptoms
    Employees who feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, trouble breathing, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat and aches and pains, are to remain at home and contact Health Link BC at 8-1-1 and their supervisor.
    At work, if an employee shows even mild symptoms of sickness, they must immediately put on a mask, notify their supervisor, return home and contact 8-1-1 or a doctor.
    ITF will interview the employee to determine what interactions, if any, they may have had with others in the workplace, where in the workplace they had been working and what workplace items, tools or equipment they used or had contact with when at work. If applicable, those other employees identified will be notified.
    ITF will ensure that the reporting employee’s workspace, other places in the workplace they may have attended, and any other workplace items, tools or equipment they used or had contact with when at work are promptly cleaned and disinfected.

    3. Test Results
    The Public Health Agency of Canada advises any person with even mild symptoms to stay home and call the public health authority of BC. If advised to submit to a test, employees must do so and report their situation to the employer. They must self-isolate at home until the results of the test are known.
    If the test results come back negative, the employee must seek medical advice on when they may return to work.
    If the test results come back positive, the whole company will shut down for 14 days or until everybody is tested and a diagnosis of COVID-19 is ruled out by health authorities. All work areas and surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected before returning to work.

    4. Quarantine or Self-Isolation requirements
    An employee who has travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days, is not permitted to enter any part of the facility and must quarantine and self-isolate.
    Employees who live in the same household as a person with confirmed or clinical COVID-19 symptoms who is self-isolating must self-isolate and not return to work until cleared to do so by the public health officials.

Mental well-being during COVID-19

Some employees may be affected by the anxiety and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and to take measures to support mental well-being. The BCCDC and WorkSafeBC have posted links to resources that can assist with maintaining mental health in the workplace during this time. 

The links can be found here:
BC Centre for Disease Control: Mental well-being during COVID-19
WorkSafe BC: Protecting mental health

ITF Specific Safety Protocols

Cleaning and Disinfecting

COVID-19 is susceptible to disinfectants and sanitizers. There will be increased cleaning of high touch surfaces. Disinfecting schedules including a reminder list of items to disinfect are posted in all communal areas (office, washrooms, shop etc) and need to be filled out. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies are provided by ITF.

Shared Equipment

Non-essential equipment and supplies will be removed from communal spaces. Shared equipment such as printers, copiers, tools, machines must be disinfected after each use. Hands must be washed or sanitized after using shared items. Cleaning supplies and wipes are provided at all shared equipment and signs are posted to remind everyone of the procedures.

Company Vehicle

All shared ITF vehicles need to be disinfected after each use (door handle, wheel, gear stick, keys, clips). The sanitizing supplies are to be left in the car.
There will be no more than 4 ITF employees traveling in a vehicle at one time. It is optional for staff to travel in a vehicle with other staff and ppe will be provided if necessary.

Kitchen/Breaks

Employees need to wash their hands before and after using the kitchen. The use of the fridge, microwave, coffee machine is minimized. After use, all touchpoints are disinfected and all dishes need to be cleaned immediately. Employees are encouraged to have meal breaks outside if possible. In order to limit opportunities for transmission through shared cutlery and dishes, we strongly encourage everyone to bring their own.

Procedure for Visitor Attendance

Clients and other visitors should only attend the office under exceptional circumstances and only with the prior approval of ITF. Other means of communication (telephone, email, meeting off-site) should be used wherever possible.
Visitors must wash or disinfect their hands before entering any buildings or interacting with employees. Relevant signage and a hand sanitizer have been placed by the front and back door.
All visitors to the ITF office/shop will be recorded (with date, time and contact info).

Raisings

ITF staff will follow the jobsite specific protocols put in place by the prime contractor at each location that ITF is visiting. If no procedures are in place ITF staff will default to our COVID-19 Safety Plan.

ITF will provide all necessary tools and equipment to complete the job onsite. If ITF staff are required to touch other contractors tools or if other contractors are to use ITF tools and equipment, it must be sanitized before and after each use. ITF will provide all cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and masks.

Accomodation

Work related travel and staying overnight should be undertaken only where absolutely necessary. If an overnight stay is required, no more than 2 people can stay in a hotel room. Considerations for hotel selection must include reviewing their COVID management plan.

Staff Meetings

Any in-person staff meetings will be held only where we can guarantee 6 feet of physical distancing. In-person meetings will be reduced where possible.

Record Keeping

ITF will keep relevant records such as remote work, reported symptoms, self-isolation, visitors at the office/shop etc. Privacy obligations will be respected concerning this information.