As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to impact the world, it is important to ensure we know and understand how this could potentially impact our employees, their families, and our business. Business continuity plans are critical in these times.
COVID-19 is a virus that displays flu-like symptoms and was detected for the first time last year in Wuhan, China. The virus has been linked to a market in Wuhan that sells seafood and different animal meats. The coronavirus spread from animals to humans who have consumed the meat. Coronavirus is now spreading between infected persons and their contacts.
Although the current impact in Canada is low, businesses need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. What this means is ensuring we understand the symptoms, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, to be able to limit the spread of this virus. For businesses, Trace recommends developing a business continuity plan in addition to your emergency response plan. Personally, you should consider an emergency plan with a 72 hour emergency preparedness kit in the event you have to stay at home to avoid contamination.
For employers, Trace recommends the following actions:
- Continually assess the potential risk to employees at any work site. Currently, Canadian employees have a low risk of contracting COVID-19. This is because nationally Canada has had no direct flights from the impacted areas. The Government of Canada provides daily updates for travel advice. Having said the latter, you should assess your business risk if your work includes employees working in places with a high concentration of people, (i.e., airports, malls).
- Ask employees who have recently travelled to any of the high-risk areas to get checked by a medical doctor and be monitored for any of the symptoms. This could mean requesting the employee to self-isolate and work remotely, where possible for at least 14 days (normal incubation period of the coronavirus).
- Encourage regular and thorough handwashing with soap and water.
- Request employees travelling outside of the office to carry hand sanitizer solution with them, and hand sanitizer should be made available at your common work areas.
- Encourage employees should be encouraged to assemble a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit to keep at home.
If you want to know more about COVID-19, the Government of Canada provides daily updates.
For business continuity advisory, please contact Bruno Cornejo, Senior Technical Advisor, Emergency Management at 780.966.2083.