COVID-19 POLICY

Webster Hudson & Coombe LLP

Prevention of COVID-19 in the Workplace

Policy Statement

Purpose

This policy was developed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The precautionary measures are developed using advice and information obtained from WorkSafe BC, the provincial health authority and HealthLink BC.

Definitions

WHC employees refers to all partners, associates, staff members and temporary workers

Policy

Employee Responsibilities

All employees should ensure they understand and comply with the infection prevention policies and practices outlined within this policy.

Hand Hygiene

  • Wash hands immediately after arriving to the office and frequently for the duration of time at the office.  Be aware of touching high use areas and equipment.  Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after each use.  Wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face (specifically your eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Cover your mouth when coughing, sneezing, and yawning by doing so into the bend of your arm, not your hand.
  • Avoid touching surfaces that other people touch often.
  • Instead of a handshake, give a friendly wave.

Workspace Cleaning

Use appropriate products provided by the Firm to clean and disinfect items like your desk, work surface, phones, keyboards, and electronics at least twice daily and more often if they are visibly soiled.

Social Distancing

  • Keep a distance of at least two metres between you and anyone else, including your co-workers and clients.
  • Reduce or eliminate activities that require close physical proximity or contact with people, such as team meetings.
  • Limit any necessary personal proximity to others that is closer than two metres to the shortest time possible.
  • Limit of one person in the kitchen at any given time – you must wipe down all surfaces after use.
  • Limit of one person in the washroom.  Use signage on door when entering and exiting.
  • Follow building maximums for elevators.  Use stairs if possible.
  • Limit of two people in the mailroom at any given time.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Masks must be worn when moving in all common areas and where physical distancing cannot be maintained.  Disposable masks will be provided by the Firm to all employees and clients.  Common areas include elevators, kitchen, hallways, counters and meeting rooms.

Updates to Management

  • Provide updated emergency contact information to Human Resources.
  • Immediately notify management if you rely on public transport to get to work and have no means to safely get home if you start to feel ill while at work.

Self-Isolation

If you have a symptom of COVID-19 or think you might have such a symptom, you must stay home.  It is critical that if you have at least one symptom of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), or even mild cold symptoms, you must stay home to avoid spreading illness to others.  Mild symptoms may be similar to a cold or flu.

Additional actions you should take include:

  • Immediately isolating yourself to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19;
  • Contacting 811 HealthLink BC and follow their advice;
  • Notifying the Firm by contacting your Partner and Human Resources; and
  • Remaining away from the office until you have been advised to return by HealthLink BC.

You need to self-isolate if you:

  • Have symptoms, even if mild, associated with COVID-19;
  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are waiting for laboratory test results after being tested for COVID-19; or
  • Have been advised to self-isolate by HealthLink BC.

Self-isolating means:

  • Staying home until HealthLink BC says you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus; and
  • Avoiding contact with others.

If your symptoms worsen, immediately contact your healthcare provider or HealthLink BC and follow their instructions.

If you live with or have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and who has been instructed by HealthLink BC to self-isolate, immediately contact 811 HealthLink BC and follow their advice.  If you have been advised to self-isolate, your Partner/HR will be flexible on schedules and accommodate working remotely until HealthLink BC has authorized your return to the office.

Developing Symptoms at Work

If you develop even mild symptoms while at work:

  • Separate yourself from others.
  • Contact your Partner/HR using a telephone or by e-mail.
  • Notify your Partner/HR where you worked or moved throughout the office that day.
  • Disclose any interactions with fellow staff, lawyers, or others.
  • Disclose any equipment you used, items you handled, or surfaces you touched.

If you drove yourself to work, immediately go home and start self-isolating. If you took public transportation, your Partner/HR will contact either your emergency contact or the local public health authority or non-emergency services to ensure that you are safely returned home.

Do not return to work until your public health authority advises it is safe to do so. The quarantine period will likely last a minimum of 14 days.

Employer Responsibilities

To ensure that the Firm continues to provide a healthy and safe workplace, the following measures have been implemented. In addition, the Firm continues to stay updated on guidelines and information provided from the World Health Organization and the government of Canada, and on measures implemented at a provincial level.

  • Use the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to help develop policies and procedures.
  • Continue to communicate with staff and clients about COVID-19, including the measures we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Post signs encouraging good respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, and other healthy practices.
  • Where feasible, implement measures to reduce social contact, such as teleworking arrangements, flexible hours, staggering start times, encouraging the use of e-mail, and teleconferencing.
  • All non-essential meetings or travel are postponed until clearance received from the government of Canada or the local health authority.
  • Continually evaluate the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and shared spaces and objects to look at measures to reduce contact.
  • Implement and follow increased cleaning guidelines:
    • Make hand sanitizer available at all entries, kitchens, and common areas
    • Clean and disinfect all high-traffic areas and frequently touched areas (such as door handles, fridge handles, microwaves, printers, photocopiers)
    • Provide cleaning supplies to ensure proper disinfection in common areas and workspaces
  • Follow building protocol regarding lobby, elevators, stairwells and all other public areas.

The following personal protective equipment is available:

  • Gloves for employees who wish to use them. Hands must be washed before putting on gloves and immediately after removing gloves.
  • Disposable face masks for employees and clients.

Active Health Screenings

All individuals entering the workplace must complete the Personal Health Screening questionnaire administered by the receptionist.  If the answer is yes to any of the questions, you will be denied access to enter the office.

Visitors in the Office

Having clients and other visitors attending at the office is strongly discouraged.  Wherever possible, use technology to conduct phone or electronic meetings.  When making appointments with clients or visitors that have to attend the office, every person must receive an email which asks them to confirm that:

  • they have not been outside of Canada in the last 14 days;
  • they do not share a household with someone who has been outside of Canada in the last 14 days;
  • they have not been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; and
  • they are not suffering from any flu-like symptoms

If any of the foregoing apply, then such person cannot attend at the office and will have to reschedule their appointment to a later date, or to deal with the matter by telephone or means of other electronic interaction.  Every client or visitor will be required to sign in upon arrival and confirm they meet the above criteria.

All visitors will be asked to please sanitize their hands and wear either their own mask or a disposable mask available at reception. 

After the visitor leaves, please advise reception so the boardroom can be sanitized.