Feb. 1, 2021/Hastings and Prince Edward Counties
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors carried out an inspection blitz of local workplaces from January 20 to 22, with an aim to keep local workers and customers safe. The campaign resulted in 198 local businesses being inspected, building on continuous efforts to protect workers and customers at essential businesses by ensuring they are in compliance with COVID-19 requirements.
Two HPEPH inspectors and 18 ministry inspectors were involved in the blitz and they visited a variety of businesses permitted to remain open during the provincial shutdown, including:
- gas stations;
- corner convenience stores;
- grocery stores;
- discount and big box stores;
- warehousing and manufacturing facilities; and
- food establishments providing takeout.
As part of the inspections, educational materials promoting safe behaviour before, during and after work (including when on breaks) were provided to employers and workers. Developed in conjunction with public health, these materials are part of the effort to ensure that workers and customers understand what is required to be properly protected during the pandemic.
While many workplaces were in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, results from the safety campaign showed that only 46% of the 198 workplaces inspected were in compliance with requirements. Enforcement officials issued 12 tickets and six occupational health and safety orders. The most common infractions included not having a safety plan and exceeding capacity limits.
“While many businesses in the region are taking the necessary steps to protect their staff and customers, several must make adjustments to align with current guidelines,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for HPEPH. “We are continuing to provide information and support to local workplaces to help them operate as safely as possible. The only way to reduce the spread of COVID is for everyone – business owners, workers and customers – to follow the current public health guidelines.”
HPEPH continues to work with the business community and educate businesses and workers about the public health measures required under the Reopening Ontario Act and Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Enhancing Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown.
In addition, businesses can access the following resources to help raise awareness of COVID safety in the workplace:
- COVID-19 worker and employee screening tool
- Developing a COVID-19 workplace safety plan
- Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace
- Guidance for employers during breaks
- Break poster
- Lunch poster
- Keep it to yourself poster
- Workplace Personal Protective Equipment Supplier Directory
Local business owners/operators with questions about current regulations are invited to visit our COVID-19 Resources for Workplaces web page, complete our online form, or call 1-800-267-2803 ext. 677.
Employees or customers who are concerned that a local workplace is not in compliance with current regulations can also notify HPEPH of their concerns by submitting a question or complaint to our online form. HPEPH looks forward to continuing to work with local businesses owners and workplaces to keep our community safe.
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.