Ask the Safety Expert: How do I respond to my co-workers' concerns about COVID-19?

Ask the Safety Expert: How do I respond to my co-workers' concerns about COVID-19?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Ask the Safety Expert: Glen McDonald
Q: Some of my co-workers are concerned about COVID-19 and want additional measures put into place in our workplace to protect them from the virus. As a committee member, how do I respond to these concerns? 

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.
2. While developing your response plan, be sure to review the illness prevention measures that are required by legislation, your workplace's communicable disease prevention plan, your employer's safety and health program, and your workplace's policies. As well, review the precautions that ​Manitoba Health 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 Manitoba Public Health. To keep up to date, regularly visit

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 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.

Click here to go back to the Ask the Safety Expert landing page.​

best live chat