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Exposure Control Plans - General

COVID-19 and Workplace Exposure Control Plans

Your employer is required to develop a plan to protect workers from exposure to biological agents such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

What is an Exposure Control Plan (ECP)?

An ECP is a written plan to eliminate or minimize exposure to a hazard – in this case, COVID-19.

It identifies where exposure might happen at your work, and the steps that will be taken to prevent or minimize exposure.

The plan must be based on the "precautionary principle," which means employers must err on the side of caution, even if firm scientific proof is not yet available.

When is an ECP needed?

An exposure control plan is required in every workplace where workers might face exposure to a biological agent at work. This includes COVID-19.

The plan must be developed and implemented as soon as possible after the hazard is identified.

What does an ECP have to include?

  • A risk assessment completed by a qualified person;
  • A list of all work activities that could potentially expose workers;
  • Control measures to eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure (examples are plexiglass barriers, physical distancing, etc.);
  • Infection control precautions (examples are cleaning/housekeeping measures, procedures for dealing with contaminated items, etc.)
  • A description of the personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Training for workers on the plan, and how to work safely.
  • A record of workplace exposures.

Note: If you have been exposed to a biological or chemical agent at work, we encourage you to register your exposure with WorkSafeBC's Exposure Registry Program. Registering your exposure may make it easier to have a future claim accepted if it was a result of the registered occupational exposure.

What is the role of the JOHS committee or worker health and safety representative?

The JOHS committee or worker health and safety representative should be involved in the development of the ECP.

The plan must be updated as necessary and reviewed at least annually by the JOHS committee or worker health and safety representative.

If an employer has a general plan covering many worksites, it should be reviewed by the committee and revised to ensure that it fits the unique circumstances of each worksite.

You are encouraged to discuss exposure control plans at your next OHS committee meeting. Your committee has a critical role to play in ensuring that employers are meeting their obligations to protect workers' health and safety in this pandemic.

Where can I get more information?

Find a more detailed version of this bulletin here: Exposure Control Plans for BCGEU OHS Representatives