Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Ontario releases return-to-work safety guidelines for manufacturers

April 30, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Photo: ultramask/Adobe Stock

The Ontario government has released safety guidelines for the manufacturing industry, among other sectors, to prepare workers to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No timelines for the return-to-work strategy have yet been released.

“We all want to reopen our businesses, services and favourite places across the province, but we must do it in a safe and responsible way,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement.

“By taking these steps, we will be prepared to get people back to work when the time is right.”

The sector-specific guidelines (including for manufacturing) feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:

  • Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow;
  • Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays;
  • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing hand-washing before and after breaks.

The government has also issued downloadable posters to promote safety tips, with advice on physical distancing and sanitation.

Starting this week, 58 new labour inspectors will join the province to communicate COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces or enforce emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.

The government says it is committed to a careful, stage-by-stage approach to loosening emergency measures and reopening Ontario’s economy. Public health and workplace safety will remain the top priority, while balancing the needs of people and businesses.

Ontario will work with its health and safety associations to add workplace safety guidelines for more sectors in the coming weeks.

Find the health and safety guidelines for manufacturing workplace safety during COVID-19 here.

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