BC Government Update re: Covid-19 and Construction Sites

Dear HAVAN Members,

The Provincial Government released the new guidance to construction sites during COVID-19 Sunday morning, March 22, 2020 at 11:35am.

Under the current Public Health Act, prohibiting the gathering of people in excess of 50 people at a place of which a person is the owner, occupier or operator, or for which they are otherwise responsible, employers in the construction industry are asking for clarity about what this means for them.

The public health officer is directing employers to take all necessary precautions to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission and illness to themselves and their employees. This includes:

  • There should be no more than 50 people in the same space in any circumstances.
  • Where possible, employees should maintain a distance of two metres apart from each other.
  • Post signage that limits the number of occupants in any elevator to four people at a time.
  • Reduce in-person meetings and other gatherings and hold site meetings in open spaces or outside.
  • Increase the number of handwashing stations and post signage that identifies their location.
  • Maintain a list of employees that are currently working on sites and update this list daily.
  • All common areas and surfaces should be cleaned at the end of each day. Examples include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks, light switches and door handles.
  • Anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, sneezing or coughing, must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Section 4.85 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation does provide for a minimum standard around the provision of washrooms and hand washing facilities. Where plumbed facilities are impracticable, employers must provide access to portable washroom and hand-washing facilities. Those facilities must be maintained in good working order and must be provided with the supplies necessary for their use.

We also received official confirmation on Friday, March 20, 2020, from the Council Of Construction Association of BC (COCABC) that WorkSafeBC is NOT contemplating shutting down worksites in BC.

Employers should reassess their work environment every day and keep updated with the information posted on the Province’s website:  www.gov.bc.ca/COVID19

As Covid-19 continues to unfold, we have set up a dedicated web page, www.havan.ca/covid-19-resources , to ensure you have quick access to information and the necessary resources, to help you and your businesses navigate this tumultuous time.

This dedicated page includes links to HAVAN’s Covid-19 new releases, plus health and business resources including, but not limited to:

Support to Businesses, provided by the federal government, outlines subsidies to help keep workers, flexibility for filing taxes, and access to credit.

CHBA’s Best Practices for Business Owners to consider during the current pandemic as well as any future event.

BCCSA’s Safe Work Practice, a guide for employers to use as a toolbox talk or safety meeting, when discussing the COVID-19 virus with their workers on a construction site.

Covid-19 Self Assessment Tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

We are in this together. Rest assured, we are closely monitoring the situation, working with our provincial and national offices, and will continue to update as information becomes available.

The health and welfare of our staff, member companies, families and the communities where we live, and work is our primary concern. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe.

Enquiries can be directed to:
Ron Rapp, CEO Ron@havan.ca direct:  778-373-9780 /   cell:  604-516-9272