Allstate Canada Group (ACG) has developed this COVID-19 Safety Plan, to detail the control measures, policies, procedures, protocols, communication plans, training, and monitoring processes necessary to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at our facilities.
This plan follows the recommendations and requirements of the Provincial Governments where ACG writes business (Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada. Employees will have access to the COVID-19 Safety Plan by accessing the company’s intranet and when entering the workplace, where applicable. The plan and other associated documentation will be made available on request to regulatory bodies upon request.
While Provincial directives regarding workplaces and essential services continue to evolve during the pandemic, the requirement to be vigilant with the goal to prevent and minimize the exposure to COVID-19 continues to apply. All ACG employees have a role to play to ensure we keep each other, the customers we serve, our business partners and our communities, safe at all times.
ACG’s Enterprise Risk and Return Council (ERRC), Business Continuity Committee, Joint Health & Safety and Communication teams are all involved in ensuring the implementation of measures to address the evolving risks of COVID-19. These groups work conjunctively to identify, assess and mitigate the risks of transmission associated with this virus. They continue to collaborate with our employees, people leaders, and subject matter experts, in re-assessing the emergent risks. Specific and appropriate prevention and control measures have been introduced and are continuously reviewed for applicability and improvement.
From the beginning of the pandemic ACG has implemented strict control measures such as moving over 90% of employees to working from home since March 2020, limiting the number of people at all locations, as well as requiring face masks be worn at all times while at the office – even before it became a government requirement in most regions.
The intent of this Plan is to catalogue the protocols instituted by ACG that supports a workplace that reduces exposure to the COVID-19 virus and addresses the prevention of contraction. These protocols are a key component of the strategy ACG has implemented to ensure a safe work environment that prevents or minimizes the possibility of COVID-19 transmission while creating an environment where employees and customers may safely interact. Please note that as the knowledge base and legislation guiding our H&S actions regarding COVID-19 infection prevention and control evolve, this document will also change.
Factors Considered In the Development of this Plan
What is Coronavirus Disease: COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The symptoms of COVID-19 can resemble a cold or flu. According to Health Canada, symptoms can appear in two (2) to as many as ten (10) days after being exposed to an infected person. An infected person is contagious up to three (3) days prior to becoming symptomatic. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose, or nasal congestion (not caused by seasonal allergies)
- Difficulty swallowing
- New/worsening cough
- Fever (37.8C or higher)
- Changes to taste or smell
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
According to Health Canada, WHO & the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to spread mainly from person to person, via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or may be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 2 metres). The virus has been found to live on surfaces for several hours and through cross-contamination can occur if a contaminated surface is touched and then the face is touched.
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas.
Community Spread: People being infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Close Physical Contact: Being less than two (2) metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for over 15 minutes; living in the same home
Hierarchy of Controls and Plan
In developing this COVID-19 Safety/Operational Plan & Guidelines, ACG has considered a hierarchy of controls, as recommended by Public Health officials. Illustrated below, the elements closer to the top of the inverted triangle help with eliminating the spread of COVID-19. Those closer to the tip of the triangle are for managing exposure.
This Plan outlines the measures, which ACG has implemented to ensure a safe workplace.
The following control measures, in accordance with the Hierarchy of Controls, are currently in use to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19:
Adjust the Workplace
- Work from Home, utilizing technology and maximizing virtual handling of most customer interactions
- Substituting online activities for in-person meetings, training and customer appointments
- Removing office-access to a large number of employees in non-customer-facing roles
- Maintaining a physical distane of at least two (2) metres (six (6) feet) from others at all times
- Installing plexiglass between employee & customer at all agency locations
- Re-arranging of layouts (desks, reception desk, kids play area and kitchen), to prevent breach of physical distancing, lingering and minimizing high touch items requiring wipe-downs
- Establishing single person use areas – Kitchen, Business Centre and Copy Room to accommodate physical distancing
- Establishing people capacity levels for work areas and deterrence of utilization of meeting rooms
- Restricting the number of employees and visitors onsite
- Placing signage throughout facility to encourage physical distancing in aisles ways, passages (directional floor markers inside for employees and outside for customers)
- Restricting consumption of food & drink to individual employee desks
- Maximizing the efficiency of ventilation systems by ensuring the systems are regularly maintained and that the filtration is meeting required MER ratings
- Utilizing current guidance documents and procedures released by ASHRAE to address COVID-19 exposure
- Cleaning and disinfection of shared areas/surfaces
- Ensuring that high-traffic surfaces and those frequently touched are correctly disinfected on a regular basis
- Ensuring cleaners are using Health Canada recommended cleaning products to remove visible soil and/or dirt from surfaces & approved disinfecting products to destroy bacteria and viruses
- Assigned workstations are separated by at least 2 metres for the very small number of employees working from the office
- Implementing Pre-screen Questionnaire completion prior to entry into all Allstate locations; must be completed by all employees, contracted staff, 3rd Party Service Providers, service technicians, cleaners, security staff & essential visitors. Lists symptoms, possible exposure and requires temperature check. Includes YES/NO answers; must complete all answers with a “No” to be clear to report to work.
- Implementing attendance logs at all non-agency locations
- Continuous monitoring of Pre-screen Questionnaire submissions & Attendance logs to prevent trace & control outbreaks at ACG facilities
- Promoting the practice of diligent hand hygiene for all employees & customers. Hand sanitizer is placed strategically throughout the facility
- Encouraging the practice of good hand hygiene directly after contact with high touch areas, desk cleaning & customer contact activities
- Increasing cleaning and disinfecting of offices & equipment. 5 nights of regular cleaning & disinfection + 2 nights of deep cleaning & disinfection
- New rules (for visitors or customers) and safe work procedures (for workers) that support physical distancing.
- Increased Communications to all employees to keep them informed about COVID-19, steps to control risks incepted by ACG and ACG’s expectations regarding the employee’s adherence to the H&S policies and protocols
- Mandatory training and acknowledgement of commitment to comply with all protocols to control & prevent exposures
- Provide consistent & comprehensive training targeted to the level of competence required by Agency employees
- Ensuring that sick employees do not report to work ill.
- Communicating symptoms to employees to ensure recognition
- Organize & prioritize tasks to limit the number of people present in the office at any given time.
- Modulate traffic flow and occupancy levels in agencies and office settings to meet physical distancing requirements.
- Effectively communicating the cleaning process for high touch items, areas and employee desks to the employees.
- Screening visitors and customers by phone takes place before they arrive for in person appointments.
- Employees are encouraged to monitor their own symptoms at all times.
- Updates sent out from CEO/CRO/VP Sales on COVID-19 Protocols and Situation Reports
- Following all provincial and public health guidelines for COVID-19 screening measures
- Vigorous internal contact tracing process including case classification , Red – positive, Orange – primary contact with positive individual and yellow – possible contact via secondary exposure.
- Self-quarantine after travel, exposure or when symptomatic
- Mandatory requirement to wear Personal Protective Equipment – PPE (e.g. facemasks), at all times while at the office to prevent cross-contamination. Communicating the proper ways of donning and doffing of PPE – Posters placed at entrances to facility and throughout the interior spaces where employees can readily view them.
- Provide cleaning supplies for individuals to wipe down surfaces in their immediate work area
- Place hand sanitizer throughout facilities for easy access by all individuals
- Signage posted throughout building on physical distancing, hand washing, covering cough – Control - at the worker reminders that need to be complied with by employee
- Reminders through email to staff of EAP and other available social and mental health supports sent out by HR
- Opportunity for employees to participate in self-care webinars, mindfulness, podcasts and Zoom support sessions.
Employee & Essential Visitor Pre-Screening & Monitoring
All employees & essential visitors reporting to a physical work location (not working from home) must complete the on-line COVID-19: Work Entry Pre-Screening Questionnaire, each day prior to entering the workplace. This Questionnaire can be found here COVID-19 Pre- Screening Questionnaire.
Individuals who intend to attend an ACG site, must complete the questionnaire from home/external work location (for 3rd Party individuals – contractors, service techs, etc.), before reporting to the office. This will aid in the early identification of potential COVID-19 symptoms, which could prevent disease spread by eliminating exposure of others in the workplace.
Employees need to be observant of changes to their baseline health status and for new or worsening symptoms. Workers who have a pre-existing personal health conditions that exhibit certain symptoms (outside of fever, cough, chest pain/difficulty breathing) such as stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches etc., should not be considered criteria for a failed screening.
- Employees who fail the self-screening are NOT to attend the workplace but must remain at home, self-quarantine and immediately notify their manager regarding their absence from work due to illness. If experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, they are to contact their health care practitioner or their local Public Health Unit for further direction.
- External workplace parties who fail the screening must not attend any ACG sites and should follow their company’s reporting procedures.
- Manager/Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) must contact HRC – Health, Safety & Wellness as soon as possible to enable forthwith determination of a timeline for virus communicability, to determine potential for exposure to others, to determine if self-quarantine is required, to institute cleaning and disinfection of offices and surfaces and if required, close the office location
- If employees begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while in the workplace, they must NOT remain at work. Employee must immediately advise manager, leave the office, go home, self-isolate, call their healthcare provider or local Public Health Unit and follow their instructions.
- If a Manager has concerns about an ill employee in the workplace, they may send the employee home.
Employee and Customer Attendance Logging
A mandatory process introduced for all Allstate Insurance Agencies and essential workers reporting to non-Agency offices (Headquarters, Claims Offices and Regional Offices) to record employee and customer contact information when an in-person visit to the office occurs.
The Employee and Customer Attendance form will be used to record all office visits: employees, customers (existing and prospects) & approved 3rd party vendors/businesses (External Workplace Parties).
COVID-19 Case Management
A case management process will commence on notification to the Director of HSW or HSW Consultant by the employee Manager or an HRBP if:
- Pass Pre-Screen but feels ill other than COVID-19 like symptoms (Stay home report, report to manager, treat as sick time; HSW need not be notified)
- Pre-Screen = Fail due to 1/more “Yes” answers
- Employee falls ill at work
- Employee was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Employee develops symptoms of COVID-19
- Employee reports a positive COVID-19 test
- Employee has mild symptoms but are not typical symptoms, self-observe for 48 hours. If clears up then do the Pre-screen. Report to manager & stay home. Self-isolate and observe symptom
The HSW Team will manage the case:
- Provide guidance on next steps conditions that need to be satisfied before the employee returns to the office.
- Conduct workplace-related virus contact tracing, as required.
Update COVID-19 Case Management Assessment Records, ensuring the accuracy of data communicated to the Risk Management Committee.