On April 19, 2021, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) updated and distributed its COVID-19 Standardized Protocols for All Canadian Construction Sites. These guidelines present best practices for maintaining the health and safety of workers on construction job sites for the duration of the pandemic. If COVID-19 is impacting your business this is the perfect time to consult with a Construction Lawyer Toronto professional to walk you through best practices.
CCA plans to continue consulting with the government in efforts to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that essential workers are prioritized for vaccine eligibility.
Below are some highlights from the latest version of the guidelines.
- Clear Communication: At every job site entry point, there is to be clear signage that states the contractor’s commitment to the COVID-19 healthy and safety measures. And all job site COVID-19 policies are to be communicated to all workers.
- Preventative Practices: All workers are to continue cleaning and disinfecting tools, objects, and cleaning surfaces. They are to wash their hands frequently and to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. They are to keep at least a two-metre distance between themselves and others, refraining from physical greetings, such as hugs or handshakes. They are to avoid touching their faces, eyes, noses, and mouths with unwashed hands. When coughing or sneezing, they are to do so in their inner elbows, not their hands, and dispose of any tissues used.
- Face Mask Mandate: Everyone on job sites is to have access to N96 respirator masks. They are to be worn in addition to practicing the preventative measures listed above. These masks should not be worn if they put workers at risk (for example, if they can be caught in machinery). In that case, workers are to strictly maintain their physical distance from one another.
- Travel Policies: Workers are not approved for non-essential business travel. If travelling due to an approved exception, everyone returning from outside the country is to complete a 14-day self-isolation. Everyone must also follow province guidelines for inter-provincial travel.
- Maintaining Space: All individuals who can work remotely are encouraged to do so. Others who must work on-site are to separate themselves from others as much as possible. They are to eat in designated areas and maintain restricted capacity limits when using trailers, washrooms, and other small spaces. When employees cannot practice social distancing due to the nature of the work, wearing PPE is critical. In-person meetings are to be kept to a minimum, and job sites are to be reorganized to ensure one-way hallways and stairwells.
- Receiving Deliveries: Those making deliveries are to remain in their vehicles, while those receiving deliveries are to wear PPE and unload deliveries from the vehicles. No direct exchange of goods or items (pens or documents) is to be made between those making and receiving deliveries.
- Occupied Space Issues: If individuals must work in occupied spaces, such as residences, they are to practice social distance. They are to thoroughly clean their hands and tools before entering these spaces and after leaving them. If any occupants have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, work should be postponed. If the work is urgent and must be completed, the workers are to wear nitrile gloves and Tyvek coveralls, in addition to masks.
- Screening Protocol: Before entering any worksites, all employees are to be screened and confirm that they are experiencing no COVID-19 symptoms. They are also to confirm they have not been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19, been working on a site closed due to the virus, or traveled outside Canada in the previous 14 days. Individuals deemed high risk are not to enter job sites.
- Virus Response: Those individuals who have texted positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms are not to come to the workplace. They are to contact their supervisor, stay at home, and self-isolate. They are also to contact their local health officials for further instruction. If there are positive cases confirmed, employers are to inform all affected workers regarding potential exposure. However, all medical information is to be protected and kept private.
- Continual Monitoring: For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, safety officers at job sites are to review all health and safety measures, making sure they are being implemented and directions are understood. All contractors are to continue auditing their sites and ensuring their workers are aware of and following safety measures.
As the pandemic continues, CCA recognizes that situations are constantly changing. CCA will update safety guidelines and measures as needed to reflect evolving requirements.
Construction Lawyer Toronto Professional
Concerns related to COVID-19 are undoubtedly a burden for any business. The team at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants can help navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Our team of Construction Lawyer Toronto professionals will in addition to advising our clients on COVID-19 legal matters, will provide other valuable services for construction businesses, including contract review, employment law advice, and litigation and arbitration services.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.