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 aches pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin or discolouration of fingers or toes. 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 primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
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 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 by coughing into your elbow or sleeve or use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 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, 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 will be provided by the Company and must be worn if physical distancing measures cannot be maintained.
• 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, 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. Divisional Leader 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, heart disease, lung disease, etc) 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.
• Its is unknown within the medical community whether individuals who are pregnant are more susceptible to COVID-19. As a result, 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) Employees 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. Employees may require clearance from a medical practitioner prior to returning to work (i.e. negative test result).
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.
Refer to “WGI COVID-19_Business Related Travel Protocol Phase 2_AC_ON_MB_SK_AB_BC_July22.2020_V3”
As per the Canadian Federal Government’s direction, all international travelers upon their return to Canada, must self-isolate at home for the 14 days subsequent to their return.
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.