As we work to reopening, our primary concern is for our staff to have a safe and healthy workplace to return to. While many of you are anxious to get back to the office and a return to life as it was before the shutdown, unfortunately that is not yet possible. This will be a slow process with time taken at every step to make sure we do not backslide with any progress we have made. We must continue to stay the course, remain diligent in our health and hygiene practices, and to follow the advice of the experts.
Using the recommendations from Government of BC Health and WorkSafe BC we have developed the following COVID-19 Safety Plan with protocols that must be adhered to in order for us to be successful and to remain healthy. We are constantly monitoring the advice from the BC Health authorities and WorkSafe BC and will ensure those recommendations are implemented and communicated to all staff. New information continues to emerge as health experts learn more and government responds on a rolling basis. Please understand that ongoing adjustments will be made as necessary or as recommended.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the following, please direct them to a member of our Administrative Team (Andi, Mary, Phaedra, Jesse, Jamie).
|Fit for Work Self-Assessment
- In the last 10 days, have you, a member of your household, or anyone you have been in close contact with displayed any of the following symptoms.
- Shortness of breath or
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat/painful swallowing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- New loss of taste or smell
- Loss of Appetite
- Have you, a member of your household, or anyone you have been in close contact with travelled outside of Canada and has not yet completed their 14-day quarantine?
- Are you able to get to and from work safely without exposing yourself to increased risk of transmission (i.e. using public transit)?
- If you must use public transit, whether for work or in your personal life, upon the recommendation of BC Health, please consider wearing a mask.
- Seasonal allergies may present as possible symptoms. WebMD provides information on Allergy Symptoms vs. Coronavirus (Covid-19) that you may find useful as an initial self-assessment resource.
- Self-assessment resource: Download the BC COVID-19 App which provides updates, critical alerts, self-assessment tool and resources from Public Health.
- If you are sick in any way (not just Covid-19 symptoms) STAY HOME!
- The elevator is limited to one person at a time.
- Passing one another on stair landings may be unavoidable. In such instances, please refrain from stopping to chat even if you are able to observe the 2 meters/6 feet distancing recommendations as other may need to get past you.
- The front stairwell (Government Street Office) between the 2nd and 3rd floors is designated the “up” stairwell and the back stairwell between the 2nd and 3rd floors is designated the “down” stairwell.
|Limiting the number of employees in the workplace
- Except in cases where it is operationally necessary, we continue to support and encourage employees to work from home
- The number of employees allowed in the office at any time will be based on the advice and recommendations of Government Health Guidelines and WorkSafe BC.
- Currently based on our ability to maintain the required recommended distancing of 2 meters/6 feet, we will be limiting the number of people in the first wave of those returning to the office, to 16, with 8 per floor on any given day. The number of people in the first wave at the Langley office will be limited to 8.
- Use of the Covid Contingency calendar in order to limit the number of staff allowed in the office, and on which floor, will continue for the time being.
- All employees are expected to observe the limits of staff members allowed in the office and to self-regulate those numbers as necessary.
- If the number of employees wishing to be in the office increases, a staggered or rotating schedule specifying which day(s) an employee, or group of employees may come in may be implemented.
|Limiting the number of visitors in the workplace
- While the door to the Government Street office will be open our offices will remain closed to visitors, clients, and non-Firm related deliveries (e.g. no deliveries from personal on-line shopping)
- The doors to the 2nd and 3rd floors will remain locked until further notice.
- Deliveries will go on a table outside of the 2nd floor door.
- The following is a list of approved delivery service and service providers that will be granted access to the Government Street Office building during normal business hours:
- Canada Post
- Courier (pick up and delivery of legal documents only)
- EMadill/Monk Office
- Mt. Doug Springs (water for 3rd floor)
- Best Shredding
- Mill Creek Coffee
- Manu (cheese)
- Except where otherwise necessary, all visitors and delivery personnel will be restricted to the reception area.
- Deliveries to the Langley Street office will be delivered directly with prior notice.
|Physical Distancing and minimizing interpersonal interactions
- Continued physical distancing recommendations of 2 meters/6 feet in all common spaces must be respected.
- In-person meetings with clients and outside counsel is strongly discouraged.
- Plexiglass partitions will be installed at reception and surrounding the open area assistant space on the 2nd floor adjacent to the reception area
- Plexiglass partitions will be installed upon request in all other assistant workspaces
- Regardless of the space within your office, or the presence of a plexiglass barrier, continued communications by email and telephone as opposed to in person, are encouraged even when in the office
- Directional arrows have been placed on the floor to facilitate one-way traffic throughout the office.
- If physical distancing recommendations cannot be maintained for prolonged interactions (more than one staff member participating in virtual court hearings in the boardroom, staff members working together to produce hardcopies of materials in doc prep room, etc.), then employees should wear masks
|Worker and workplace hygiene
- Upon arrival at the office, it is recommended that you wash your hands with soap and water.
- In addition to bottles of hand sanitizer in the kitchen, hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed at office entry points (front door, back and front hallway doors on 2nd and 3rd floors at Government Street Office; front door, back door at Langley St Office), as well as in the washroom hallway areas, and at each of the shared photocopiers at both offices.
- Our cleaners have been asked to provide enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of the high-contact areas such as doors, handles, faucets, counters, etc.
- Recommended hand and health hygiene protocols continue to be in place:
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- When coughing or sneezing:
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
- Dispose of any tissues you have used immediately and wash your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
|Common Workspaces and Common Touch Areas
- Please sanitize any shared business machines (photocopiers, scanners, fax machine) before and after each use by wiping it down with sanitizer and a single use disposable paper product (Kleenex, paper towel, paper napkin) or a Lysol wipe once available.
- No more than 2 people in the document prep rooms at one time while continuing to adhere to proper physical distancing requirements. (1 person in the Langley Office document prep room)
- All communal items that cannot be cleaned such as newspapers, magazines and candy bowls will be removed.
|Kitchen Supplies and Access
- We ask that no more than 4 people be in the kitchen at the same time and that physical distancing requirements be adhered to. (1 person in the Langley Office kitchen, 4 people in the staff area)
- Staff are encouraged to eat at their desks if physical distancing at the tables and on the couch are not possible.
- Water, coffee and tea will continue to be provided along with access to single person use compostable paper cups. Please ensure that you have properly washed your hands before using these items and that you sanitize any points of contact before and after each use.
- All other reusable food service items (plates, bowls, coffee cups and glasses) will not be available as they pose a risk of transmission of the virus when retrieving these items from the cupboards and drawers.
- Use of the dishwasher will be suspended until further notice.
- Availability of any shared food items (bread, butter, milk, condiments, etc.) will also be suspended until further notice.
- Please refrain from bringing full bottles and containers of multiple serving items from home (salad dressing, sauces, other condiments) if they must be stored in the refrigerator. The refrigerator has limited space and it is important that all staff members are able to store their lunch in the fridge without it touching another person’s.
- Antibacterial spray cleaner and paper towels have been provided for you to wipe the exterior of the microwave, the countertops and any other surfaces you may contact before and after preparing your lunch.
- We ask that you use the practice of, “pack it in; pack it out; leave only your footprints”.
- We ask that the staff limit the occupancy of the washrooms to one person at a time.
- A two-sided sign indicating “Occupied” and “Vacant” has been posted on each door of all our Government Street Office washrooms.
- All non-essential in-person social activities that cannot adhere to the social-distancing guidelines (2 meters/6 feet) or the maximum number of people in an area (i.e. Friday drinks, summer retreat, etc.) remain postponed or cancelled until further notice.
- At this time there is no definitive evidence that pet fur acts as a vehicle for the spread of Covid; however, under the advice of Darcie Jennings at CommuniCanine Training, it is recommended that you refrain from petting a dog that is not yours.
- If you do, wash your hands thoroughly, or use a hand sanitizer immediately afterwards.
|Starting to Feel Ill at Work
- Sick workers should report their illness to Human Resources, even with mild symptoms
- Sick workers will be asked to wash or sanitize their hands, provided with a mask and expected to go straight home (unless the severity requires calling 911)
- Workers who suspect they have Covid-19 symptoms are expected to call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation
- Common surface areas the employee has touched will be immediately disinfected
- The employee’s personal workspace will remain an “off-limits” area for no less than 24 hours by all other employees.
|Facial Masks and Coverings
- Please wear a face mask in any circumstance where physical distancing is not possible or where there will be prolonged exposure between people. It is recommended that you use your own mask. If you do not have a face mask, one will be provided, subject to availability.
- When using a face mask/covering, please comply with the following directions from WorkSafeBC:
- Always use a clean mask. If you are using a reusable cloth mask, make sure you clean/sanitize it between uses. For info on how to properly clean your mask, see Health Canada’s info page on masks.
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water
- Wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose
- Avoid touching the mask while using it. If you touch the mask, clean your hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water
- Remove the mask from behind, do not touch the front of the mask
- For further detailed information, please consult WorkSafe BC’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Selecting and Using Masks and the poster illustrating How to use a mask
- We have confirmed with our ventilation maintenance company that our building’s HVAC system is functioning in compliance with the recommended standards set out in the Guidance for Building Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic. These measures include, but are not limited to:
- Increase to the ventilation rates to external sources in order to reduce or eliminate recirculation of air
- Ensured ventilation systems are operating properly had are providing acceptable indoor air quality for occupancy levels
- Use of air filters that meet the highest filtration capacity per industry standards
- Extended running time of HVAC systems to 24/7 to enhance air exchange
||This is a challenging time for everyone. We recognize that sometimes it helps to talk to someone who has a personal understanding of your workplace and experience. We encourage you to reach out to your colleagues for support and to stay connected; we are all in this together. If you are in need of more formal support, the following Mental Health resources/bulletins are available:
· BC Virtual Mental Health Supports During COVID-19
· Canadian Mental Health Association: Mental Health Check-in
· www.lifeworks.com (available to lawyers and articled students only)
Self-assessment resource for monitoring & safeguarding mental health
· Mental Health Continuum Model contains helpful signs and indicators as well as actions to take at each phase of the continuum
|Health & Safety While Working Remotely
- WorkSafe provides information sheet on Setting up, organizing, and working comfortably in your home workspace as well as How to Make your Computer Workstation Fit You.
- When working remotely, please check in regularly with the team leader of your weekly check-in group. Please also ensure:
- To provide a copy of your household evacuation plan and a list of your emergency contacts to Jamie.
- Your working environment is safe and uncluttered (avoid slips, trips and falls)
- You are using proper surge protector power bars for all electronic devices.
- We will work with you to make sure your health and safety needs are met while working remotely.
- Report all work-related incidents or injuries to the HR Manager (Patricia in the interim)
- Direct workstation and furniture ergonomic needs to Phaedra
- Direct IT related ergonomic needs to Mary
- If you have questions or concerns around safe remote working that are not addressed here, please contact Eamon or the HR Manager (Patricia in the interim).
BC Government, BC Covid-19 Go Forward Management Strategy
BC Government, Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Guidance
CBABC, Covid-19 Resource Hub Your People, Your Clients, Your Office
CBABC, Returning to the Office: Considerations for Law Firms
WorkSafe BC, Covid-19 Industry information, and Small business and Covid-19 safety
WorkSafe BC, Covid-19 and returning to safe operations – Phase 2
WorkSafe BC, Covid Safety Plan
WorkSafe BC: WorkSafe BC’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Selecting and Using Masks
WorkSafe BC: How to use a mask
WorkSafe BC: Handwashing