15 May 2020
COVID-19 INTERIM RETURN TO WORK GUIDELINES – WorkSafe BC
- COVID-19 Safety Plans – Clinical Operations
Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe. If a formal plan is not already in place prior to operation, you are expected to develop it while protecting the safety of your workers.
To help you develop your plan, please review the below (including a 6 step process and template):
WorkSafe BC will be reviewing plans of individual employers during their inspections of your workplace. Please be reminded that in accordance with the order of the Provincial Health Officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite. During a WorkSafe BC inspection, we will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see the plan if it has been developed.
- Health professionals: Protocols for returning to operation
The below link takes you to specific industry standards outlined by WorkSafe BC. All Athletic Therapists MUST review these standards before returning to work.
Patients must be informed about the new procedures you’ve implemented, before or at the time of booking an appointment. Clear information should be included in all your communication tools – website, online booking system, phone message, and auto-responses to email enquiries.
*** EVERY ATABC MEMBER IS EXPECTED TO VISIT THE ABOVE WEBSITE. YOU MUST BECOME AWARE OF ALL THE PROTOCOLS MANDATED BY WORKSAFE BC BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK ***
- Protocols for Athletic Therapy
Above the mandatory protocols outlined by WorkSafe BC, ATABC STRONGLY recommends the following:
- Prescreening for patients prior to arrival: At the outset, it is your responsibility to advise your patients that additional informed consent is required. This includes ensuring that your patient understands that while you’ve taken measures to minimize risk of viral transmission, the nature of Athletic Therapy means that physical distancing is not possible at all times. The AT should cancel treatment if patient doesn’t meet the pre-screening criteria on physical presentation at the practice environment.
- Continue to conduct appointments virtually where clinically appropriate.
- Patient and Athletic Therapist washes hands upon entry with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by thorough drying – this should be done on arrival into and departure from the clinic, and before touching door surfaces and doors.
- Athletic Therapist and patient usage of PPE (mask/face and gloves) during close contact treatments (ie. manual therapy/modalities). This is the discretion of the therapist. However, Athletic Therapists should prepare for the possibility of a patient request.
- Whenever NOT in close contact treatments, Athletic Therapist and patient should be 2m apart (even when reviewing or educating on exercise therapy).
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces in between patients, regardless of appearance. Linens (including blankets) should be single use only, then laundered in hot soapy water.
- We are strongly recommending that “in home” visits are not done at this time.
- There is no duty or obligation to return to practice – individual clinicians will need to decide the risk for themselves and their patient.
- Avoid shared treatment areas
Athletic Therapists in BC MUST abide by WorkSafe BC enhanced protocols for health professions. Athletic Therapists who are not ready to abide by these standards will have to delay their opening. This is your professional obligation.