You may be familiar with the English proverb that says, “necessity is the mother of invention.” There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt to new lifestyles, and to reconsider how we interact with each other on personal and professional levels. While our community has been successful at managing the outbreak so far, local businesses have had to stay open and keep up with new worries and a long list of changing regulations. New safety measures have also prompted owners and employees to come up with creative ways of servicing their customers: Take out, curbside pick-up, DIY kits, and online stores are just a few strategies that owners have used to keep their businesses open and their customers safe. Our local businesses have put time and care into prevention strategies that work for their industry and the people around them.
At Miller Restoration, we’ve helped thousands of citizens restore their sense of well-being after a major disruption, and we have been amazed at the creative and effective solutions that businesses have implemented. Our local businesses have effectively integrated the Labour Code’s recommendations with their own standards of quality and integrity to overcome this pandemic. After all, staying open doesn’t just help business owners maintain overheard costs, but puts money back into the local economy and maintains some semblance of normalcy for citizens.
How Employers Can Use the Labour Code to Create a Safe Workplace
Of course, both employees and employers have different roles when it comes to workplace safety. Under the Canada Labour Code, the Government of Canada outlines the responsibilities of both employers and employees in the workplace.
In conjunction with Canada Health and Safety Regulations, and the Canada Labour Code, employers are required to follow and implement a variety of protocols to make sure that their building is safe, their equipment is operable, and that any potential hazards are addressed and contained. A savvy business owner will likely notice that many of the regulations that are used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus echo existing policies outlined in the Labour Code, including safe entry and exits to the workplace, and mandatory health and safety training for employees.
The Labour Code’s extensive list offers proactive ways to protect the health of customers and workers. Here are just a few recommendations that many Niagara business owners have already implemented:
· Maintaining first-aid stations, health services, sanitary and personal facilities for staff and customers.
· Devoting time and resources to give employees the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to keep themselves safe in the workplace.
· Monitoring the conduct of staff and customers within the workplace to ensure that their actions do not threaten the health and safety of employees.
· Adhering to the recommended guidelines as they are updated by health inspectors, municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
An employer’s leadership is essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the duty of the employer to lead by example and to communicate new restrictions and health regulations to their employees. Niagara’s businesses have demonstrated strong guidance through their commitment to health and safety.
How Employees Can Use the Labour Code to Protect Themselves and Others
New regulations introduced in the wake of COVID-19 wouldn’t be successful without the employees who make it their duty to uphold health and safety standards every day. Employees who work on the front line in hospitals, grocery stores, clinics, retail stores, municipal governments, restaurants, and across other sectors are risking their health to provide service to citizens.
Employees can maximize personal and communal safety using the Labour Code’s recommendations as their guide. Here are some of the many responsibilities that employees should abide by:
· Use designated safety materials, including clothing and equipment, supplied by the employer, and follow all procedures that pertain to the health and safety of employees.
· Cooperate with any person, including fellow employees, the employer, or committees and representatives, who is carrying out a duty or function as outlined by the Code.
· If there is any circumstance that may be hazardous to persons within the workplace, it is the employees’ duty to report potential hazards to the employer, including occupational diseases. Workplace-related injury, or illness, sustained by an employee or person in the workplace must be reported immediately.
· If an employee encounters a situation that they believe to be a contravention of Part II of the Code, the employee must report their findings to the employer.
Employees can, according to the Government of Canada website, take a collaborative approach to health and safety by working with their employers to form an Internal Responsibility System. This system refers to the “health and safety committees or health and safety representatives,” that are formed “by an employer and the employees to resolve health and safety concerns in the workplace or when performing work activities.” Employees can support safety within the workspace by exercising their right to enforce safety measures.
Staying Safe Means Staying in Business!
Miller Restoration has been a proud part of Niagara for many years, and we’ve been thrilled to be able to see other businesses make their start here in Niagara, too. We hope that our community can continue to enjoy growth in various industries like winemaking, sight-seeing, restaurants, retail, education, arts, transportation, and wellness. Together, we can overcome disaster by strengthening our resilience, and businesses can boost their ability to adapt to changing times by regularly reviewing and enforcing health and safety standards as outlined by the Government of Canada. We’re thrilled to see how many businesses have been able to keep their businesses open by changing how they operate. And, if disaster strikes your business, our emergency services will be available to you 24/7. Miller Restoration’s team has adapted its procedures to help safeguard our community, and its businesses, even from a distance.