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Positive COVID-19 Worker

coronavirus illustration

An employee at my workplace tested positive. What information should I provide to other employees and customers?

Businesses are advised NOT to provide any personal health information about an employee to staff or customers. Public Health conducts a public health investigation to determine if someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 was at work during the time they were infectious.

Public health officials work closely with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes addressing their health concerns and determining who they may have had close, prolonged contact with when they were infectious. Public health officials will then directly contact every person deemed to be a close contact, defined as having had significant exposure to the positive COVID-19 individual when they were infectious. Public health makes contact as quickly as possible with all identified contacts.

If any additional measures need to be taken at your workplace, public health officials will call you directly to provide advice.

See our printableCOVID-19 Positive Test in the Workplacefor more information.

Maintaining Morale

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Helping your workers maintain their morale is key to keeping your organization going.

Morale is not about false positivity or false security. It’s about being clear, communicating effectively, and reassuring people where you can to maintain productivity as much as possible and reduce the distraction caused by fear. These are key tenets to great leadership that will help you to make sure morale is built AND sustained, both now and into the future.

Show Trust:

Checking in daily is good. It’s important to have conversations and meetings so that you know what your workers are doing, but too many meetings and calls will give people the sense that you are checking up on them. It also makes it hard for people to get their work done.

Be careful of creating restrictive rules about your need to “see” what people are doing versus giving them room to do the work. Shift your mindset to the idea that people want to do their best work.

Create Connection:

In the workplace, we often rely on physical proximity for creating connections. Working while maintaining social distancing provides fewer of those opportunities, and people will miss them greatly. As a leader, it’s crucial that you are intentional about creating ways for people to stay connected to each other, to you, and to the work overall.

Sharing information from your organization helps people know what is going on in the company. Include stories of success, humour, and empathy in your internal communications now too. You may want to call on your Gen Z and millennial employees for their ideas on how to stay connected virtually. Give them opportunities to lead where they can.

For example, S2SA has weekly virtual group meetings, to keep updated on what everyone is doing, as well as two group chat “channels”: One for work and one for sharing cute pictures of our pets while we work remotely! Even if your organization is not working remotely, virtual meetings and workplace chat channels can help fulfill the social aspects of work while working further apart.

Give Direction:

Given the distractions in the world, people may be struggling to stay focused. They may want to do good work but are feeling pulled toward the relentless news cycle. Be clear about your expectations.

Help employees understand what their priorities are. Either set priorities for them or ask them to send you what they see as their most important pieces of work. Agree on the priorities, being careful not to overwhelm, and set an overall time frame.

Share appreciation:

This may seem obvious, but employees often identify appreciation as lacking in organizations. This is a major contributor to poor employee engagement. Often, leaders do appreciate what their people are doing but fail to prioritize sharing it. Again, false positivity is not what is needed. Genuine, heartfelt appreciation for the work getting done and the contributions people are making is absolutely crucial right now.

Social Distancing in the Workplace

coronavirus illustration

Social distancing is key to protecting staff from COVID-19 and helping to limit the spread of the outbreak overall.

For the sales and service industry, remote working isn’t generally a possibility, so how do you enact social distancing in the workplace?

Here are some tips:
  • Increase distance between work-stations,
  • Encourage Employees to stay at home if sick,
  • Stop handshaking as a greeting,
  • Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call (even within the office),
  • Defer large meetings,
  • Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible,
  • Encourage proper hand-washing techniques,
  • Promote good sneeze/cough hygiene,
  • Provide hand sanitizer for all staff and workers,
  • Have staff take lunch at their desks or outside (weather permitting) rather than in the lunch room,
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly,
  • Consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation,
  • Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace,
  • Reconsider non-essential business travel,
  • Consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled.

These methods can be used to provide protection to all workers until the situation has stabilized.

More Information for the Workplace

Good Hygiene Practices

coronavirus illustration

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

How COVID-19 spreads

COVID-19 spreads person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Ways you can reduce or slow the spread of infections include:
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you are sick (so you do not spread the illness to other people).
  • Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hand. Turn away from other people.
  • Use single-use tissues. Dispose of the tissue immediately.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or using tissues.
  • Regularly sanitize surfaces.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth (viruses can transfer from your hands and into the body).
  • Do not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery.
Cough Etiquette Poster for the Workplace

The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is hand washing – always wash regularly with soap and water.

How to properly wash your hands:
  • Use water and wet your hands thoroughly.
  • Use soap (1-3 mL) and lather very well.
  • Lather with soap for at least 15 seconds – make sure you wash between your fingers, under your finger nails, front and backs of your hands, wrists, and forearms.
  • Rinse thoroughly under clean, running water. Use a rubbing motion.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel or clean towel or use an air dryer.
  • Turn off the taps/faucets with a paper towel (so you do not re-contaminate your hands).
  • Protect your hands from touching dirty surfaces as you leave the bathroom. For example, use the same paper towel to open the door.

Hand Washing Poster for the Workplace
Workplaces can help by having an infection control plan which includes:
  • Having an infection control plan.
  • Providing clean hand washing facilities.
  • Offering alcohol-based hand sanitizers when regular facilities are not available (or to people on the road).
  • Providing boxes of tissues and encourage their use.
  • Reminding staff to not share cups, glasses, dishes and cutlery. Be sure dishes are washed in soap and water after use.
  • Removing magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms (such as tea rooms and kitchens).
  • Considering cleaning a person’s workstation or other areas where they have been if a person has suspected or identified with an infection.
  • Making sure ventilation systems are working properly.
More Information for Employers

Coping with Stress

coronavirus illustration

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
  • People at higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Children and teens.
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders.
  • People who have mental health conditions (including problems with substance use).

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

Things everyone can do for self-care:
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Encourage staff to call or visit their healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of daily activities.

Coping with Stress Poster

Managing COVID-19 as an Employer

coronavirus illustration

To help reduce the spread of communicable diseases and viruses including COVID-19, workplaces should have an infection prevention and control plan. Workplaces should consider whether doing certain tasks puts employees at greater risk of exposure.

Strategies for Employers:
  • Maintain Clean Facilities

    • Provide clean handwashing facilities and alcohol-based hand cleansers in multiple locations throughout the building (e.g., entrances, boardrooms, break rooms, etc.).
    • Post signage in the workplace, encouraging proper cough etiquette and hand hygiene (posters available here).
    • Regularly clean workstations and objects with disinfectants that are touched frequently, such as doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons, and railings. Workplaces are encouraged to increase the frequency of cleaning the workstation/worksite to two times per day.
    • Provide boxes of tissues and encouraging their use.
    • Remind staff to avoid sharing cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery, and ensuring cups/glasses/dishes/cutlery are thoroughly cleaned using soap and warm water after each use, or placed in the dishwasher for cleaning.
    • Remove magazines, papers, and other objects that cannot be cleaned from common rooms such as cafeterias, kitchens, break rooms, and waiting areas.
    • Ensure ventilation systems are working properly including opening windows as weather permits.
  • Encourage employees to NOT go to work if they are feeling unwell (e.g., coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, etc.)

    • Review sick-leave policies to encourage employees to stay home when ill to reduce transmission to other coworkers and clients.
    • Review requirements for medical (sick) notes to reduce burden on the health care system and additional exposure to ill individuals.
  • Use social distancing techniques to conduct as much business as possible

    • Encourage virtual meetings (telephone/video conferencing) to reduce prolonged, close contact between individuals.
    • Discontinue non-essential work-related travel outside of Manitoba.
Get Up-to-date Information Here
More Resources:

Audio of Trillium Automotive Dealers Association (TADA) Webinar on COVID-19 – What you Need to Know From a Legal Perspective.
(When you click the link, enter your name, and email address & the Audio will pop open on your screen)

COVID-19: Preparing Employers for Novel Coronavirus

Managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) for employers

Winter Safety

Picture of snowy trees against the sky during winter.

Emergency Preparedness

Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in an emergency situation and that you have an emergency kit to sustain your family for at least 72 hours.

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Preventing the Spread of Illness

With everyone home for the Holidays, illnesses can easily spread through your family.

Reduce the risks by washing your hands frequently, using a tissue or coughing and sneezing into your arm, cleaning and sanitizing children’s play surfaces and toys, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and avoiding sharing cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery.

Learn more
Fireplace Safety

There’s nothing quite as cozy as a fireplace! Stay cozy and safe by keeping fireplace safety in mind.

Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks and don’t leave the fire unattended. Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire, use only small quantities of seasoned and dried wood and remove ashes regularly.

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Space Heater Safety

Give space heaters space!

If you are using space heaters, remember to keep them at least one metre away from anything that can burn such as curtains, upholstery or holiday decorations. Turn off the space heater before going out or going to bed.

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Carbon Monoxide Detector

Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, dangerous gas. Replace any carbon monoxide alarms over seven years old.

You can help prevent carbon monoxide with good maintenance of fuel-burning appliances.

It comes from from car exhaust, furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, and appliances or equipment that burn solid (wood, charcoal), liquid (gasoline, oil) or gaseous (propane, natural gas) fuels.

If your detector sounds and you have an obvious source of carbon monoxide, evacuate the house, including pets. If anyone is suffering from flulike symptoms, call 911. You can also remove or turn off the carbon monoxide source and ventilate the house. Reset the alarm and re-occupy the house only after the alarm ceases.

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Cold Weather Safety

Manitoba’s low temperatures call for planning ahead and dressing for the weather.

Dress in layers, with a wind-resistant outer layer, wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, and a scarf, neck-warmer or facemask. Wear warm and waterproof footwear.

When it is very cold, or when the wind chill is significant, cover as much exposed skin as possible. Your body’s extremities, such as the ears, nose, fingers and toes lose heat the fastest.

Learn more

Holiday Safety

Close up picture of ornaments on a tree.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With holiday celebrations, though, come increased safety risks. Read on to learn what to look out for this season.

Smoke Detector

The winter months are the leading time of year for home fires. With family and friends spending extra time at your home over the holidays, it’s a great time to check your smoke alarms.

Replace smoke alarms if they are over 10 years old. Remember that you need working smoke alarms on every story of your home and outside all sleeping areas.

Learn more
Tree Safety

Christmas Trees can be a fire hazard.

If you’re using a fake tree, make sure it is labelled flame-resistant.

If you’re using a real tree, buy a fresh tree and water it daily. Keep your tree away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters or candles. Also keep your tree away from heat sources such as a vent or sunny window that can dry them out.

Learn more
Ladder Safety

While putting up your lights this Holiday season, remember to use ladder safety. Maintain three points of contact, keep your body near the middle of the step, and always face the ladder while climbing. Don’t place a ladder on boxes or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.

Also, avoid using a ladder if you are alone or cannot get help in the case of an accident.

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Light Safety

Before you put those lights on the tree or the house, check the cords closely.

Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged, use the proper lights for the environment, link a maximum of three light strands together, and don’t overload circuits. Make sure to turn off all lights before going to sleep or leaving the house.

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Extension Cord Safety

Use extension cords wisely. There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets or chain extension cords during the holiday season, but its a fire hazard.

Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow, avoid coiling or bunching extension cords in use, don’t run them under carpets, and discard any defective cords with frayed or exposed wire.

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Cooking Safety

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing.

A stovetop fire can start in a flash, so never leave stovetop cooking unattended. Keep all combustibles away from the stove. This includes tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels.

If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

Learn more
Ornament and Decoration Safety

Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible, and non-conductive.

If there are young children or pets in your home, avoid very small decorations that can be choking hazards and decorations that are sharp or breakable. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.

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Candle Safety

When you go out, blow out your candles!

Candles are often part of holiday traditions but remember to always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery or holiday decorations.

Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.

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Toy Safety

Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk. Luckily, there are ways to reduce these preventable injuries.

Parents can avoid many toy-related hazards by remaining cautious, identifying safety red flags, knowing what classic safety issues to look out for, inspecting new and old toys for defects and poor design, and learning to identify hidden hazards

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Pet Safety

As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible.

Also, be sure to steer pets clear of the human food and treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

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Celebration Safety

With all the festive cheer this time of year, social occasions coupled with alcohol consumption, cooking, smoking or unattended candles can create a fire risk. To minimize the risk at parties, plan your event in advance so you have enough time to prepare the meal.

Hurried cooking activities, multi-tasking and neglecting fire safety can be ingredients for an unwanted house fire. Avoid over-crowding. Encourage guests to smoke outside or provide them with a safe ashtray, and refrain from burning candles during parties. Ensure any guests who drink have a ride home.

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5% Safety Levy

S2SA is one of Manitoba’s industry-based safety programs (IBSPs), programs offering safety training and services designed to help keep workers safe on the job, in partnership with SAFE Work Manitoba. These programs are an integral part of Manitoba’s prevention infrastructure.

IBSPs are funded by all employers within the corresponding classification. The Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) collects and distributes these program fees (called a safety levy) through employers’ premiums as a percentage of their rate.

Over the past year S2SA and other key stakeholders have been involved in a review of the funding for IBSPs in Manitoba. As a result, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) has launched a new funding model that provides for:

• Predictable and sustainable IBSP funding from the WCB.
• A level playing field for existing and future IBSPs.
• Support for expansion and the creation of new IBSPs.

As a part of the new model, the safety levy will be capped at five per cent of the WCB premium for all employers. Funding beyond the five per cent safety levy will now be provided by the WCB. As such, there will be no reduction or disruption of service from S2SA as we move to the new funding model.

New Partnership with WESguard!

WESguard Logo
We are very excited to announce a new partnership with WESguard by Workplace Engineering Solutions.

WESguard is a web application to help workplaces identify, track and improve the safety of their machines. Through our partnership with Workplace Engineering Solutions, S2SA Members members are eligible for one month free when they purchase a 12-month subscription.

S2SA members will have the opportunity to access machine safety expertise through Workplace Engineering Solutions at a special S2SA rate. Workplace Engineering Solutions offer machine safety audits, certifications, lockout program assistance as well as machine-specific training opportunities. For our members with small machine shops, they have even created a special mini audit to better meet your needs!

These services can help companies to meet certain goals within the SAFE Work Certification process.

Check out the free-trial atwww.wesguard.ca/freetrial

For further information or assistance with your machine safety opportunities, send a message toKristin Petaskior visit Workplace Engineering Solutions online atwww.workengsolutions.ca.