Safety Swap: Returning to operations during COVID-19

Safety Swap: Returning to operations during COVID-19

​​​ Safety SwapThis Safety Swap talks about how your committee can support your workplace’s safe return to operations.​​​

Information to kick start your safety and health committee meetings! 


1. Is there any general guidance that workplaces should follow for a safe return to operations?

Please see Manitoba Health for up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 guidance and recommendations.

2. Where can I find industry-specific information about returning to operations?

Industry guidelines related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 can be found on Manitoba Health's website (Guidance for Industry Sectors), or your association or industry-based safety program's (IBSP) website. Contact your association or IBSP to find out more. You can also find a link to resources in SAFE Work Manitoba's COVID-19 toolkit.

3. Do we need to do a risk assessment when returning to operations?

Your employer is required by law to provide a safe and healthy workplace. A risk assessment would tell you whether your workplace is at risk of spreading COVID-19 and help you decide if you should put prevention measures in place. If you do a risk assessment, this tool from Health Canada can help you. As well, you can consider creating a Communicable Disease Prevention Plan for your workplace.  

4. Once we are back at work, what else can our committee do to ensure our workplace is safe during COVID-19?

Your committee or representative should:
  • ensure they fully understand the Communicable Disease Prevention Plan,​ if your employer has one in place, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — remember that committees and representatives should participate in developing and implementing your workplace's plan​

  • answer questions from workers about the plan

  • act as a good example by encouraging staff to follow the plan

  • continue to act as a voice for workers, and bring forward concerns to your employer

  • gather and provide feedback to your employer about COVID-19 prevention in the workplace

  • participate in inspections and investigations related to COVID-19 in the workplace

  • continue to consider workers' mental health, and ensure you can direct workers to appropriate mental health supports

  • continue to encourage co-workers to prevent infection by:

    • washing their hands often with soap and water, or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) if their hands are not visibly soiled

    • coughing or sneezing into their elbow or a tissue

    • keeping a physical distance of at least two metres (six feet) from other people, except during brief exchanges

    • staying home when sick

    • getting vaccinated, if possible.

Top Tips:

  1. Stay informed on the latest COVID-19 updates in Manitoba: manitoba.ca/covid19. Always ensure you are sharing up-to-date, credible information about COVID-19.

  2. Ensure your committee or representative is included in the return to operations process.

  3. Practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

  4. Follow your own workplace policies and procedures.

​Additional Resources:


SAFE Work Manitoba COVID-19 toolkit​

Manitoba Health COVID-19 information

Manitoba Health Guidance for Industry Sectors​

Government of Canada COVID-19 risk assessment​

Additional source consulted: BCGEU: JOHS committees must continue meeting during COVID-19 pandemic  

​Share your ideas!

Share your ideas! If you would like to share your best practices with other safety and health committee leaders, we'd like to hear from you. Your idea might be featured in an upcoming issue of Safety Swap! Email information@safeworkmanitoba.ca for more information.​
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