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Oh Pandemic, Aren't You Done With Us Yet?

 

Because we are sooooooooo done with you! It's been well over 6 months already, and I hate to say it, but we are still in the thick of it!

Hands up if you've got pandemic fatigue!

Two hands up if pandemic fatigue is straight up impacting your workplace!

Today's video talks about exactly that - how small businesses and their workers are impacted by Pandemic Fatigue and what you can do to combat it!

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Back to Work Part VI: Work Refusals

Have you read this article on CBC.ca yet? It's about workers refusing to return to work due to COVID. Each province's OHS legislation says something similar - that a worker can refuse dangerous work. Essentially, workers have the right to refuse to carry out any work they reasonably think will put themselves, or others, in danger. In the context of COVID, this can be related to concerns such as lack of protective equipment or concerns around physical distancing.

I can understand workers' concerns, here in Edmonton, just yesterday, a couple of local restaurants shut down due to customers testing positive for COVID. There is a outbreak at Edmonton's Waste Treatment Plant. No wonder workers may be a bit on guard about contracting COVID at work, especially after being told for the last 3 months that it was too dangerous for them to go to work.

What's the process behind a work refusal?

A worker's first step is to report their refusal, and the reasons for their...

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Back to Work Part V: Stress

This blog post wasn't part of my original plan when we started mapping out this series, but a recent story from a friend prompted a change in strategy. As with our previous Back to Work posts, this is aimed at businesses that are re-opening in the midst of COVID-19.

To reiterate: the world is not normal, the economy is not normal, businesses are not operating normally. The third planet from the Sun is still in the midst of a global pandemic...but despite this, some businesses are re-opening and trying to safely operate in the weirdness. 

Businesses will likely have new procedures for cleaning, client relations, shipping & receiving, and scheduling. This is going to be new territory for a lot of businesses which means your 3:30 pm appointment might become a 4:00 pm appointment or even a 4:30 pm appointment. Businesses will adapt to the new reality, but there might be some bumps along the way.

Look After Your Employees

Unfortunately, some clients will not like the...

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Back to Work Part IV: The 3 Workers Rights

As I write this, some in our home province of Alberta, businesses that closed because of the pandemic have been opened for just over a week. There are similar stories across the country, with some ares still under heavy restrictions and some areas with most restrictions lifted.

So, as there's a lot of people going back to work it seems like a good time to talk about the three Basic Workers Rights and how they relate to work in the time of the great pandemic of 2020.

These rights are common across the country - all workers in Canada have the right to know about workplace hazards and have access to basic health and safety information on the work site, the right to participate in health and safety activities, and the right to refuse dangerous work.

The Right to Know

This right seems fairly reasonable, right? There's even a clichéd saying that goes with it: "Forewarned is forearmed". If you know the hazards in your workplace, you'll be better able to control those hazards...

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Back to Work Part III: Prevention

We’ve looked at communication, and hazard assessments so far. Now let’s look at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

A big part of prevention are hazard assessments. The Alberta guidance document even states:

“Conduct hazard assessments on all tasks performed in the business. Consider business closure or suspension of specific tasks where the risk of transmission of infection to staff, volunteers and patrons cannot be mitigated “

You know how to do your own hazard assessments (right? If not - head back to this post). Seriously, we can’t overestimate the importance of a good hazard assessment when it comes to COVID-19 related risks.

Prevention, in our thinking, is a component of your hazard assessments. Prevention could be deemed a class of hazard controls. The Alberta government was kind enough to highlight a few important prevention mechanisms. Here, we've tried to put my spin on their guidance document.

Screening: Ask the questions!

By now, we’ve...

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Back to Work Part II: What are the Hazards in Re-Opening?

A lot of businesses have had to close because of COVID-19. This sucks, I know, but as I write this, in mid-May 2020, several businesses will be re-opening very soon. Provincial governments are requiring businesses conduct hazard assessments prior to re-opening. In the world of occupational health and safety, this type assessment is often called a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). A properly completed JHA is designed to protect your workers, the work environment, and the public from hazards associated with your work. The government of Alberta has released some sector specific guidance documents here, for additional reference. 

In this post, we want to explain the process for creating and implementing a JHA. If you follow along, you'll be able to conduct your own hazard assessment for your business and prepare for re-opening.

Note: we'll be writing this for an audience that does not come from a safety sensitive sector. If you have a background in something like construction, or...

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Back to Work Part I: Communication

So, it looks like Canada is going back to work after spending a few months holed-up because of COVID-19, but we've got some new rules to follow, and rightly so. Nobody wants infection and transmission rates to blow up again. The provinces are starting to release guidance documents for business owners to help get their employees back to work. To help small businesses, we've put together our own guide to bridge the gap between provincial guidance documents and reality.  

Guidance documents from government will tell you what you need to do, but I'll help you figure out HOW to do it. Deidra and I want to see business re-open SAFELY.

Before we get going any further, I don't want to get political at all. Whether or not you like the government they've given us rules and guidelines to follow. I'm not going to editorialize on what I think of them, I just want to help people get back to work safely. 

I'm using the Alberta government guidance document found here, but a...

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