On April 8th, the provincial health officer (PHO) introduced new rules around how workplaces can be closed if a COVID-19 outbreak is identified.
The order delegates specific powers of the Public Health Act to WorkSafeBC prevention officers. The powers delegated to prevention officers are limited to serving a closure order on a business with a known COVID-19 outbreak.
The closure order will be in effect for a period of 10 days or more, as prescribed by the health authority’s medical health officer on a case-by-case basis, and served when directed to do so by a provincial medical health officer.
WorkSafeBC is providing this support to help the province manage the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.
- When serving the closure order, the WorkSafeBC prevention officer will engage the employer on a discussion regarding their COVID-19 safety plan and provide the employer with the Reviewing and Updating Your COVID-19 Safety Plan resource guide.
- The prevention officer will advise the employer that they should review and make improvements to their COVID-19 safety plan.
- Once the workplace has re-opened, the prevention officer will conduct an inspection to review the employer’s updated COVID-19 safety plan to ensure the employer is effectively implementing measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The increase in COVID-19 cases is an important reminder that all of us – employers, workers, industry, and stakeholders – have a shared responsibility to remain vigilant in supporting workplace health and safety during the pandemic. For more information on the most recent PHO order and how to keep workplaces healthy and safe, please refer to the following:
- The Ministry of Health for more information about the PHO order
- Your regional health authority for information about specific closure orders
- WorkSafeBC’s COVID-19 website for resources and information on keeping workplaces safe, including information on the PHO order on our Inspections and consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic page