Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 16 of 51 17 and shipping documents amid COVID-19, the CFIA now asks that feed and feed ingredient manufacturers electronically transmit labels and other shipping documents for bulk feed and feed ingredients, so as to reduce person-to-person interaction. As of June, the CFIA is slowly resuming its non-critical inspection services. Aside from investigations, the CFIA also conducts activities such as recalls, export certifications, animal disease investigations and laboratory testing. Keeping workers safe One of the most important things right now is keeping food workers safe. As frontline workers, they are tasked with the essential business of keeping food on Canadians' plates. Furthermore, they also deserve to work in a safe and healthy workplace. With reports on multiple outbreaks on farms and meat-processing plants, workers in this sector may be worried, and employers may not be fully aware of the measures they can take to increase workers' safety. So, how can food business operators keep their workers safe? "Food business operators must train the employees on how to properly use personal protective equipment and remind them on how important it is to follow instructions on personal hygiene and social distancing during breaks at work," says Noroozi. Nevertheless, what happens if a food business employee is infected with COVID-19? "Specific protocols have been established within the food-processing industry to safeguard the health of employees," says Noroozi. "These measures come in addition to usual food hygiene and workers safety practices, and they adapt to the possibilities on the ground." Noroozi says some of these measures include: social or physical distancing while in the workplace; plexi-glass shields for workers when distance cannot realistically be maintained; avoiding contact as much as possible between truck drivers and the food production facility; increased sanitization (including more hand sanitizers available); staggering shifts when possible; and working from home when possible. Additionally, these measures should include encouraging, if not requiring, workers to stay home if they are infected with the virus or if they present symptoms in line with COVID-19. "There is every reason to believe that existing sanitation measures are as effective on COVID-19 as on other microbiological risks," says Noroozi. "Furthermore, food businesses should perform additional sanitation measures when appropriate, based on risk, all the more in the case an employee [tests] positive to the virus." The measures listed above, he says, "combined with the fact that food is not known to be a source of transmission, provide assurance on the safety of food production." "Food businesses should perform additional sanitation measures when appropriate, based on risk; all the more in the case an employee [tests] positive to the virus." Ebrahim Noroozi, food scientist at McGill University And while preventive controls and safeguards are essential, so are inspections. Food inspections The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provides streamlined regulations under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations legislation. The regulations were streamlined in January 2019. To ensure the application of this legislation, the CFIA has put into place a Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP). It explains that this approach has shifted from "prescriptive-based requirements" and is now focused more on "safety outcomes." Moreover, new updates came into effect on July 15 for the manufactured food sector this year to reinforce safety, and the CFIA states on its website that COVID-19 is its current priority. In response to the pandemic, the CFIA has, over the last few months, implemented various measures. For example, with regard to the delivery of livestock feed labels

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