A: Thank you for the question. As a committee member, one of your main roles is to receive and follow up on concerns and complaints regarding the safety and health of workers. Responding to questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging and stressful, but remember that you are not alone. You can work with your fellow committee members, your employer and your co-workers to effectively respond to concerns.
We recommend you follow the steps you would usually take to address a new hazard in the workplace:
1. Meet with the rest of your safety and health committee to:
- discuss the concerns
- develop a plan to respond to the concerns, which may include writing recommendations for your employer.
You don't have to meet in person during the pandemic — video or phone conference calls
are a great way to stay connected with your fellow members.
2. While developing your response plan, be sure to review the illness prevention measures that are required by legislation and your employer's safety and health program. As well, review the precautions that the Province of Manitoba has recommended for workplaces for preventing the spread of COVID-19. You can access that information by clicking here
3. If you do need to make recommendations to your employer: these recommendations may lead to your employer doing a risk assessment to determine the level of risk workers face, and a job hazard analysis to identify hazardous job tasks where workers have a higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19. Safe work procedures and other measures may then be implemented by your employer in consultation with your committee, to guide workers on how to complete their tasks safely while lowering their risk of being exposed to the virus.
In making recommendations and putting measures into place, remember to take into account the most up-to-date directions from the Province of Manitoba, which currently include physical distancing (maintaining a two-metre or six-foot distance between all workers). To keep up to date, regularly visit gov.mb.ca/covid19/
4. Assist your employer in developing and promoting measures to protect workers. Measures that your committee can participate in may include distributing educational materials to keep workers informed about how to stay safe. Remember to regularly check the effectiveness of any measures your employer puts into place, and make additional recommendations to your employer if necessary.
For more information about COVID-19, visit:
Province of Manitoba's COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus website
and COVID-19: 3Ps to defeat it
for the most up-to-date provincial information.
Government of Canada's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
for the most up-to-date information from the federal government.
For specific health concerns, contact your family physician or call WRHA Health Links at 204-788-8200.Glen McDonald is a Prevention Consultant in the Infrastructure Portfolio at SAFE Work Manitoba.
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