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Essential Workplaces Are Now Subject to COVID Compliance Inspections
May 17, 2021
Compliance is Key to Keeping Your Business Afloat in 2021
Many provincial and state-level governments are taking significant measures to ensure that businesses remain compliant with public health restrictions. Local lockdowns have played a part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 but ensuring business compliance has been a major hurdle. Now, government authorities are taking it upon themselves to enforce public health orders against businesses, conducting random checks to confirm compliance, and issuing hefty fines to those who flout by-laws.
These compliance checks on businesses include examining employees’ hygiene practices, social distancing, work from home options, and proper use of face masks in the workplace. A fine is not the only consequence for defying such orders; it can cause a blow to a businesses’ reputation. Negative press about your business receiving fines can hurt consumer confidence and impact your bottom line for years to come.
An Employer’s Duty of Care Obligations During COVID-19
Many retail giants have been subject to COVID outbreaks that have harmed staff and halted productivity. Employers continue to have a duty of care obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees during their time at work. Compliance is key in this pandemic world, both in preventing the spread of the virus and navigating the complications that have stemmed from public health measures.
Early numbers in one Canadian province revealed that just 67% of essential businesses were in complete compliance with government regulations. Inspectors noted that the majority of issues were related to face masks, a lack of screening people entering and exiting the workplace, along with a non-existent plan in place for addressing COVID-related issues.
One state has begun issuing $7,000 fines to businesses where their employees do not wear face masks. Mask mandates can have significant financial impacts on a small business, and compliance with by-laws will be far less costly than the imposed fines.
Many essential business owners, especially those who have no other option but to bring their workers on-site, will find it challenging to ensure that their entire fleet of workers remain compliant.
Complicated Public Health Measures Leave Businesses Scrambling
Public health and social distancing measures have been complicated; tight workspaces and a lack of compliance can land a business in hot water with local governments. Large retailers, grocers, restaurants, and any other business deemed essential could be subject to random inspections that look for areas where transmission of the virus is possible. This includes break rooms, high-touch surfaces, doors, handles, washrooms, and other gathering places.
Proper face mask use has also been a difficult subject for employers. Providing PPE (personal protective equipment) is one challenge but ensuring that workforces continually use PPE properly is another issue. A relaxed approach to mask-wearing could mean a financial penalty for business owners.
Access Control - A Simple Solution for Many Large and Small Businesses
Businesses should consider implementing a stringent access control plan to help manage the flow of workers coming in and out of the building. This plan, complemented by a physical security presence, can screen employees and patrons visiting the job site. Simple questionnaires that ask whether or not an employee is feeling well can help prevent sick workers from infecting an entire workforce and help fulfill your ongoing duty of care obligations. Temperature checks have also proven to be helpful in managing outbreaks at workplaces. Some solutions offered to businesses include a physical or robotic security presence located at specific entry points that can screen anyone entering the building.
Access Control and Screening Measures Offered by AFIMAC
Drafting a reliable COVID business continuity and compliance plan can be a complicated task for any employer. Lean on the experience of AFIMAC to implement comprehensive compliance measures, including access control, temperature readings, and continued screening of employees to ensure the safety of your workforce. AFIMAC can assist in drafting comprehensive plans for your business to ensure you remain compliant throughout the remainder of the pandemic. Further, we offer inclusive options for any business owner seeking access control and physical security solutions.
Contact us directly to learn more.