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Infectious disease, or communicable disease, is defined in PEI’s Public Health Act as “an illness that is caused by the transmission of an infectious agent or its toxic products, directly or indirectly, from an infected person, animal, plant, object or the environment and includes those diseases prescribed by regulation. Under the OHS Act’s general duty clause, employers must make sure that precautions are taken to protect the health and safety of persons at the workplace, and this duty includes protection from the hazard of infectious agents in the workplace.
Employers must make sure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect the occupational health and safety of persons at or near the workplace.
The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is hand washing - frequently wash hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). Employers should encourage and support workers to get a vaccine for those infections and viruses that have one, when available. Workplaces can help by having an infection control plan which includes steps such as:
- Providing clean hand washing facilities;
- Providing disinfectant wipes, especially for use in common areas and at personal workstations;
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces on a schedule, such as doorknobs, handles, stair railings, bars, desks, phones, kitchens, shared equipment and computers, cash registers, elevator buttons, and restaurant tables and menus; and
- Making sure ventilation systems are working properly, are maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendations, and are adjusted to provide the appropriate air exchanges per hour.
Lunch Rooms and Eating Areas
- Provide a clean lunch and rest room that:
- Does not have a door opening directly into a toilet facility;
- Is separate from any place where there is the possibility of food being contaminated by a dangerous substance;
- Is not used for any purpose that is incompatible with its use as a lunch room;
- Has adequate:
- Light, heat and ventilation,
- Hand cleansing and drying facilities close by,
- Enough tables and seating for workers,
- Suitable covered receptacles for the disposal of food; and
- Is kept in a sanitary condition.
Other spaces or situations
There are also specific requirements for spaces or situations such as:
- Not have food or drink in a room where any process may contaminate that food or drink.
- Follow good personal hygiene practices at work and while using all facilities at the workplace.
- Practice frequent hand-washing.
- Help to keep their individual and common work areas clean.
- Follow any instructions, education, and training about a workplace infection control plan.
- Report any infectious disease hazards.
Part 4 LUNCH ROOMS OR EATING AREAS
Section 4.1 Lunch and rest room
4.1 In every workplace the employer shall provide a clean lunch and rest room that
(a) does not have a door opening directly into a toilet facility;
(b) is separate from any place where there is the possibility of food being contaminated by a dangerous substance;
(c) is not used for any purpose that is incompatible with its use as a lunch room;
(d) is adequately provided with
(i) light, heat and ventilation,
(ii) hand cleansing and drying facilities in close proximity,
(iii) sufficient tables and seating facilities for the use of workers,
(iv) suitable covered receptacles for the disposal of food; and
(e) is kept in a sanitary condition.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 4.3 Conveyance of food
4.3 No worker shall convey food or drink into a room where any process that may contaminate the food and drink is being carried out.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01
Section 12 Duties of employers
12. (1) An employer shall ensure
(a) that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect the occupational health and safety of persons at or near the workplace;
(b) that any item, device, material, equipment or machinery provided for the use of workers at a workplace is properly maintained, and is properly equipped with the safety features or devices, as recommended by the manufacturer or required by the regulations;
(c) that such information, instruction, training, supervision and facilities are provided as are necessary to ensure the occupational health and safety of the workers;
(d) that workers and supervisors are familiar with occupational health or safety hazards at the workplace;
(e) that workers are made familiar with the proper use of all safety features or devices, equipment and clothing required for their protection; and
(f) that the employer's undertaking is conducted so that workers are not exposed to occupational health or safety hazards as a result of the undertaking.
(2) An employer shall
(a) consult and cooperate with the joint occupational health and safety committee or the representative, as applicable;
(b) cooperate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations;
(c) provide such additional training of committee members as may be prescribed by the regulations;
(d) comply with this Act and the regulations and ensure that workers at the workplace comply with this Act and the regulations; and
(e) where an occupational health and safety policy or occupational health and safety program is required under this Act, establish the policy or program.
(3) An employer shall establish and implement as a policy, in accordance with the regulations, measures to prevent and investigate occurrences of harassment in the workplace.
[S.P.E.I. 2018, c. 45, s. 3]