Contaminated Workplace (WorkSafeNB)
(La version française suit)
Due to the volatility of the COVID-19 situation and constantly evolving evidence, the responses provided will be updated as new information becomes available. Additional references are included in the answers. The reader is advised to give greater weighting to local or provincial guidance and follow the highest standard should there be difference.
Important Points to Remember:
1. *A visitor and employee log for access points and rooms where physical distancing is not possible must be shared with Public Health.
2. *Ensure this process respects individual privacy. Public Health will also identify if any communication is needed external to your workplace.
3. *Every individual is entitled to privacy when it comes to Personal Heath Information and confidentiality is respected and adhered to during all aspects of the Public Health investigation.
4. *You must have a documented plan that specifically addresses COVID-19.
1. What should an employer do if they find out that a worker has been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19?
The answer to this question depends on if the worker has simply been exposed or has had close contact. Public Health is advising anyone who has been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-monitor themselves for 14 days. If the worker has had close contact, then they must self-isolate. In either case, if the worker subsequently develops symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, they should isolate and use the Government of New Brunswick’s assessment tool to assess their status and next steps.
Curious about the difference between self-solation and isolation (quarantine)? Visit Health Canada’s webpage, Know the difference : Self-monitoring, self-isolation, and isolation for COVID-19 on website for more information.
(information as of April 17, 2020)
2. What should an employer do when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and may have been in the workplace interacting with co-workers before the diagnosis was confirmed?
The employee must immediately isolate themselves and follow guidance from the appropriate regional public health officials. Public Health will determine if there is a need to inform the employer of the test results. *A visitor and employee log for access points and rooms where physical distancing is not possible must be shared with Public Health.
Public Health will advise anyone who has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and identify any control measures that are required to be put in place.
For the management of cases and contacts, Regional Public Health will provide the direction for follow up and advise if there is a need for employer action.
Regional public health will lead the process of tracing the identity of other persons that may have been exposed. Public Health may require the employer's assistance in the process. As the employer, you are required to:
- Cooperate with Health officials and adhere to the advice Additional information on the tracing process used is below.
- With the guidance of Public Health, communicate with your staff and other workplace parties about measures they must take following the potential. *Ensure this process respects individual privacy. Public Health will also identify if any communication is needed external to your workplace.
- Follow Public Health's advice regarding closing or restricting access to the workplace to clean surfaces and equipment which the confirmed case was in contact with by following the guidelines developed by Health Canada for Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19)
- If applicable, follow Public Health's advice before re-occupying the workplace.
- Introduce a screening process for employees re-entering the workplace if such a process does not already exist. WorkSafeNB has developed a screening tool.
- Re-evaluate the workplace including the preventive measures to determine if changes are necessary. You can consult the following WorkSafeNB webpage for guidance.
- If necessary, re-visit your business continuity plan and your operational plan.
Embrace a new normal, WorkSafeNB
New Brunswick Department of Health - Public Health Contact Tracing Information
All positive COVID-19 cases are reported to the appropriate regional public health office.
- Public Health staff contacts the individual who tested positive the same day they receive the results to inform them of their test result, provide instruction, and determine who they have been in close contact
- Public Health conducts a risk assessment based on a detailed interview with the individual.
- Public Health staff contacts all close contacts (and the workplace if appropriate) to identify any control measures that are required to be put in
- If one of these close contacts tests positive, then the contact tracing process begins for that
As is the case for all contact tracing of cases, Public Health nurses and teams work daily with new cases to trace the contacts and have them self isolate. If there is workplace exposure or exposure to the public, Public Health determines what communications are needed within workplaces or with the public or media outlets.
*Every individual is entitled to privacy when it comes to Personal Heath Information and confidentiality is respected and adhered to during all aspects of the Public Health investigation. Note that employers cannot require employees to submit their personal lab results as a condition of absence or presence at work.
(information as of May 14, 2020)
Every WORKPLACE: What you need to do, no matter the risk level
CREATE A COVID-19 OPERATIONAL PLAN
*You must have a documented plan that specifically addresses COVID-19. This requirement applies to all workplaces, whether you have continued to operate during the pandemic or are planning your re-opening. While your documented plan doesn’t need to be approved by WorkSafeNB or Public Health, it needs to be available at any time. You could be asked for it by either regulatory body (refer to page 7). Click here