Post Contributed By: Jamie Hall, SAFE Work Manitoba
As businesses and communities continue to recover from the pandemic, Manitoba’s safety and health community is following public health guidance in order to help protect workers from illness and prevent the spread of infection in workplaces. Luckily, they already have the safety tools they need in their toolkits to help fight this invisible hazard: COVID-19.
While leading the recovery planning for the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) and its agency, SAFE Work Manitoba, it occurred to me that asking people to face an invisible hazard that can be fatal is not an easy thing to do, but it is a challenge that our society has faced before ̶ from learning to be safe around electricity to preventing physical injuries due to working in hot or cold weather conditions. While this is a different hazard than any we have seen before, with the right tools, safety and health professionals have been able to respond in the same way they would respond to any workplace hazard.
You may remember the SAFE acronym: Spot the Hazard, Assess the Risk, Find a Safer Way, Every Day. That is how Manitoba has approached the COVID-19 hazard. I discovered early on in recovery planning for the WCB that ‘SAFE‘ is a vital “tool“ we can all use in the fight against COVID-19. Like other workplaces across the province trying to return to a “new normal,” the WCB has identified COVID-19 as a hazard to our employees and customers. We have assessed the risk and implemented new safety measures to safely work in our offices and provide services to our customers. Every day, we monitor and assess the constantly changing situation this pandemic brings.
Along with tools to manage physical and psychological safety, another tool we have offered our employees to help “find a safer way” is the COVID-19: Best Practices for a SAFE Workplace course. This free, online course provides instruction to help prepare everyone at the workplace on how to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, keeping themselves, their co-workers and their customers safe.
In the continued fight against this invisible hazard, it will take all of us doing our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace by following recommended precautions and practicing safe work. The most important tools each of us has includes frequent hand-washing, physically distancing, wearing a mask when required and staying home when sick. Let’s all do our part and practice SAFE work.
SAFE Work Manitoba has additional tools available to help keep you safe. You can find COVID-19 training and a variety of resources at www.safemanitoba.com.