Characteristics of the Virus
Symptoms of the virus
According to the World Health Organization (“WHO”) the most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, and tiredness. The less common symptoms muscle or joint pain, nasal congestion, nausea or vomiting, chills or dizziness, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin. The most serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How Is It Spread?
The virus spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The droplets vary in size, from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.
What can employees do to reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace?
• Monitor and abide by the Federal, State and Provincial Health recommendations and mandatory requirements.
• All employees must wash their hands with soap and water immediately upon entering a WGI Westman Group Inc. (“WGI”) facility and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Thereafter, employees must frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available), especially before and/or after eating, using the washroom, coming into physical contact with another person, coughing or sneezing. This includes before and after handling internal and external documentation (mail, cheques, payables, etc). Where applicable, employees will be granted an additional amount of time during work hours to complete these required hygiene techniques.
• Employees must use letter openers when opening mail, envelopes, courier packages, etc and immediately dispose of the envelope, box, packing material, etc. All employees must wash their hands with soap and water immediately after handling these items. All employees must also wash their hands before and after handling internal and external documentation (mail, cheques, payables, etc). Workstations and desks must be cleaned and sanitized as appropriate however, workstations and desks must be cleaned and sanitized after handling external items (packages, mail, documentation, etc).
• Cover your cough or sneeze by coughing into your elbow or sleeve or use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Immediately throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and wash your hands.
• Maintain your health by taking care of yourself and those in your care including eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding cigarette smoke and other harmful substances, being active and getting enough rest and sleep.
• Employees must refrain from all forms of physical greetings (hand shake, fist bump, elbow tap, etc).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and ears as this is a method for germs to enter your respiratory system.
• Avoid public gatherings as stipulated by Federal, State and Provincial Health recommendations and mandatory requirements.
• Don’t share eating utensils, food, drinks or face coverings.
• Where possible, maintain a 2-metre social distance from others while in common areas (lunch rooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, coffee areas, high traffic access doors, etc.). Employees who have serious chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc) should observe a 4-metre social distance from others. Face masks or face shields (where regulations allow) will be provided by the Company and must be worn as per “WGI COVID-19_Face Covering Protocol_FINAL_January21.2021_V1”.
• All common areas (lunch rooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, coffee areas, high traffic access doors, etc.) must be cleaned and sanitized after each use and/or for each shift. Where possible, high traffic doors must be propped open to avoid unnecessary physical contact with the door.
• Commonly used items such as: telephones, keyboards, lunch room and washroom door handles, washroom taps, etc. must be cleaned as appropriate.
• Employees who are well but who live with someone who is waiting for their test results or if there is a positive case of the virus in their household or who have been identified as a close contact of a positive case outside of their household, must abide by Federal, State and Provincial Health requirements which may include self-monitoring, self-isolating, taking a COVID-19 test, etc. The Employee must notify their supervisor of their situation. Local Human Resources or Health & Safety department approval will be required prior to the employee’s return to work.
• According to the WHO, individuals who have a pre-existing medical condition (asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. As a result, these employees are required to contact their physician for direction and to advise the employer if they require a medical accommodation.
• Pregnant employees are required to contact their physician for direction and to advise the employer if they require a medical accommodation.
Managing Sick Workers
1) COVID-19 vaccinated and unvaccinated employees who are suffering from virus like symptoms must remain away from work, and follow Federal, Provincial, or State medical recommendations and/or guidelines. Keep away from others as much as possible by self isolating. This is to keep from spreading the virus and making others sick. Employees must provide daily status updates to their Supervisor, Manager or designate by phone, text or email.
a. Medical clearance from public health is critical and must be provided before the employee’s return to work can be approved.
b. Payment of wages (not diagnosed with the virus): As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll during this time. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time, sick days, or applying for government benefits.
2) Upon diagnosis of the virus from a medical practitioner you must remain away from work, and follow Federal, Provincial, or State medical requirements; you will be required to submit medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to WGI and it will also be required to apply for benefits. Medical documentation must not be brought in personally, and will need to be faxed, emailed, texted, etc to your HR Representative.
a. Employees may require clearance from a medical practitioner prior to returning to work.
b. Payment of wages - benefits:
i. Option 1: Short Term Disability (“STD”). STD forms will be mailed to the employee
ii. Option 2: Protective Leave benefits offered through Federal, State or Provincial legislation (Sick Leave).
3) Monitoring and tracking employee absenteeism will continue as per existing procedure. Absenteeism rates will be shared with Senior Management on a weekly basis.
Workplace Control Techniques
Signage will be posted at each public entrance advising that non-essential visitors (family members, food delivery, taxis, ride sharing, etc) are not permitted to enter the building.
Signage will be posted at each public entrance advising that essential visitors (scheduled meeting with a WGI employee, outside contractors, vendors, etc) are to call the posted phone number for assistance upon arrival. Essential visitors may be required to complete a health questionnaire (in writing or verbally) upon arrival and will be required to abide by WGI COVID-19 protocols (hand washing/sanitizing, refrain from physical greetings, cough into their elbow or sleeve, etc) while onsite.
As per the Canadian Federal Government’s direction, all international travelers upon their return to Canada, must self-isolate for the fourteen (14) days subsequent to their return and abide by the “Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations)”.
Unless otherwise exempt (trucking, essential workers, etc), all domestic travelers must abide by Provincial or State recommendations and/or guidelines upon their return, whether they have virus like symptoms or not.
Payment of wages: As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll during a self-isolation period. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time, or to apply for government benefits.
Employees are required to comply with this protocol as a condition of employment, as well as for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and the community. Employee non-compliance will be addressed by local management in conjunction with Human Resources and may include disciplinary action.
Contractor, vendor, or visitor non-compliance will be addressed by local management and may include the removal of the individual from WGI property.
School & Child Care Centre Closures
Payment of wages: As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll for a period of time as determined by the company. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time or paid provincial legislated leaves.
WGI will make reasonable accommodations (flex-time solutions, shifting plant work days for some, etc) to the point of undue hardship on a case-by-case basis as required by Provincial and State human rights legislation.
External Communicators (social media, network news, etc)
Employees are encouraged to source the latest information regarding the virus through knowledgeable and credible outlets such as the WHO, The Center of Disease Control as well as Federal, State and Provincial Health Agencies. HR and H&S will ensure WGI COVID-19 communications are distributed to all employees in mass emails, posted in one or more consistent area(s), to be established at each location, and posted on the intranet and on our newly created website.