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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WGI website and through your national and local public health authority.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Keep work area clean
Stay Safe and Healthy
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 2 metre (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone where possible.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Keep work area clean
Regularly and thoroughly clean your work place with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your work place with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your table, keyboard, mouse, etc.

HR and H&S Communications

COVID-19 Protocol
last updated June 7, 2022
Characteristics of the Virus
Symptoms of the virus

According to the World Health Organization (“WHO”) the most common symptoms of COVID-19 (“virus”) include fever, dry cough, tiredness and loss of taste or smell. The less common symptoms include aches and pains, headache, sore throat, red or irritated eyes, diarrhoea, a skin rash 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 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, Provincial, State or Public Health requirements and recommendations.
  • All 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. Where applicable, employees will be granted an additional amount of time during work hours to complete these required hygiene techniques.
  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and ears as this is a method for germs to enter your respiratory system.
  • Don’t share eating utensils, food, drinks or face coverings.
  • WGI Westman Group Inc. (“WGI”) supports all staff who want to wear a face covering even if it is not a Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health requirement.
  • All common areas (lunch rooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, coffee areas, high traffic access doors, etc.) must be cleaned and sanitized as appropriate. 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, Provincial, State or Public Health requirements or recommendations 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.
Workplace Control Techniques
  • The continued use of physical barriers (counter mounted plexiglass, free standing plexiglass, floor-mounted freestanding pre-fabricated dividers, etc) that have been installed, will be at local managements discretion in consultation with H&S and the impacted staff.
  • Increase workplace ventilation.
  • Stagger shift start/end times, lunch, and breaks.
  • Decrease workplace foot traffic by encouraging employees to host virtual meetings, send emails, use instant messaging systems and office phone lines instead of walking through the workplace.
  • Post signage at each public entrance advising that non-essential visitors (family members, food delivery, taxis, ride sharing, etc) are not permitted to enter the building.
  • Managing Sick Workers

    1) All employees who are suffering from virus like symptoms must follow Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health requirements and recommendations. Employees must provide daily status updates to their Supervisor, Manager or designate by phone, text or email.

    a. 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 utilizing government benefits where available. Otherwise, time missed from work will be unpaid.

    2) All employees who test positive for COVID-19 (“virus”) must self isolate as per Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health requirements or recommendations, whether they test positive with a rapid antigen test or a Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”) test. The period of self isolation after testing positive for the virus varies by Public Health region and takes into consideration factors, including, but not limited to; an individual’s vaccination status, symptoms and whether their symptoms are improving.

    WGI encourages and recommends all employees who test positive for the virus to self isolate for a minimum of five (5) days from the date the test was taken, even if it is no longer a Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health requirement or recommendation. This is to keep from spreading the virus and making others sick.

    The employee will be required to submit medical documentation confirming 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 the employee’s 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, Provincial or State legislation (i.e., COVID-19 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.

    International Travelers

    At minimum, all international travelers must abide by Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health travel restrictions and requirements (i.e., self-isolation requirements, covid testing, etc).

    Enforcement

    In accordance with WGI protocols, Federal, Provincial, State or Public Health regulations, 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 Sr. Management in conjunction with Human Resources and may include disciplinary action up to termination.

    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 utilizing government benefits where available.

    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, Provincial and State 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.

    Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

    It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently, and your own feelings will change over time. Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

    Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

    If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

    • Crisis Services Canada Helpline: 1-833-456-4566 or text Start to 45645
    • In the US call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s)
    • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
    • If you or someone you know if in immediate danger, call 911

    Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

    • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
    • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • Worsening of chronic health problems
    • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

    People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

    Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

    Things you can do to support yourself

    • Take care of your body – Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
    • Connect with others – Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
    • Take breaks – Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
    • Stay informed – When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
    • Avoid too much exposure to news – Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.

    Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

    For parents

    Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

    Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

    • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
    • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
    • Excessive worry or sadness
    • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
    • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
    • Poor school performance or avoiding school
    • Difficulty with attention and concentration
    • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
    • Unexplained headaches or body pain
    • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

    There are many things you can do to support your child

    • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
    • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
    • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
    • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
    • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

    As an employee of WGI Westman Group Inc, you and your immediate family have access to employee and family assistance provider Homewood Health. Homewood Health offers free and confidential services such as stress management, mental wellness, assessments, outpatient and inpatient treatment, recovery management, return to work and family support services customized to meet the needs of you and your immediate family.

    To access Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services, call (800) 663-1142 or by visiting https://homewoodhealth.com

    Coronavirus disease Links

    For more information on the
    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,
    please refer to these links.