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Reasonable Employer Precautions in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ontario’s Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires an employer to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker."

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, what precautions should employers be taking to protect our members?

The answer depends on your work environment and the kinds of tasks performed. However, the following actions have emerged across Ontario as common steps that may generally be considered reasonable in most AMAPCEO workplaces:

  • Arranging that employees work from home as much as possible;
  • Providing adequate hand washing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the workplace;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing commonly used surfaces throughout the day;
  • Altering the workplace to ensure adequate distance between workstations;
  • Minimizing the number of employees in the office at one time;
  • Limiting the number of people on elevators;
  • Discouraging the sharing of equipment; and
  • Directing employees not to come into work if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Please note this list is not exhaustive, and depending on your workplace, may not include all sufficient precautions. Notably, whether the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a reasonable precaution in a workplace will depend your work environment and the kinds of work being performed. If PPE is required, the precise type of PPE required may also vary between different workplaces.

 

Addressing Concerns

If your employer is not taking one or more of the above-listed precautions, it may be violating the OHSA. If you have concerns that your employer is not complying with the OHSA, please contact an AMAPCEO Health and Safety Activist or an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative.

 

For More Information

For more information on refusing work you believe may be unsafe, please see our fact sheets on the subject:

Health & Safety Fact Sheet

Bargaining Unit: All

Published: May 6, 2020

Last Revised: May 6, 2020

Contact a Health & Safety Representative 

Contact a Workplace Representative