Vietnam veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) stitches a wound in the woods near Hope B.C. in a scene from the 1982 movie First Blood. (Orion Pictures/Youtube)

Socially distant first aid and other COVID-19 challenges

WorkSafeBC issues guidance for restarting work sites

The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to new kinds of self-reliance, from trimming their own hair to improvising a home workout.

Self-administered first aid is another option outlined by WorksSafeBC guidelines for industries restarting after being idle due to coronavirus restrictions. It’s not as dramatic as John Rambo stitching himself up in the rainforest outside Hope B.C. in the 1982 movie classic First Blood, but physical distance precautions mean an industrial first aid attendant may guide an injured person to treat their own minor injuries from two metres away.

WorkSafeBC guidelines for occupational first aid attendants advise that if an injury is minor, they should ask the injured person if they are able to administer first aid themselves. If they can, the attendant would place bandages and materials on a surface two metres from the patient and then guide them through their use.

When the injury is more serious or the worker is unresponsive, attendants would then use personal protective equipment to treat the injury.

For forestry other field work sites, distance and symptom monitoring restrictions on camp accommodation, worker transport buses and work sites are in place. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order for forestry operations with worker accommodation on April 23, and the WorkSafeBC guidelines are intended to help keep contractors and sub-contractors in compliance.

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“Hand sanitizing stations equipped with gels or wipes or water jugs with soap and disposable towels may be used where hand-washing stations are impractical,” says the WorkSafeBC guide for forest operations. “Maintain a list of all employees who are currently working at a site and update this list daily; this includes log truck drivers and all others who visit the site or work there intermittently.”

The public health order also contains specific requirements for workers, including requirements for self-monitoring, hygiene, travel and physical distancing.

Similar rules are in place for agricultural work sites, where seasonal crews are to use staggered shifts to reduce congestion on the job and during breaks. Employers hiring temporary foreign workers are required to provide them with accommodation for 14 days before they start work.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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