May 2020                                                                     FRANÇAIS | ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ 
Reopening Your Business?  
Here's what you need to know....

The Chief Public Health Officers in the NWT and Nunavut are making decisions on what public health measures may be lifted or changed in each Territory, including which types of businesses are authorized to re-open and when. Every workplace is different, but exposure control planning and risk assessments are an essential part of the re-opening and operating plan for all businesses. 

Here are 6 important steps to address the workplace health and safety concerns raised by COVID-19:
  1. Start by reviewing the  Exposure Control Planning guide (ECP). This guide outlines employer, supervisor, and worker responsibilities, and provides a step-by-step planning guide for creating a personalized plan for re-opening your business.
  2. As part of your organization's ECP, complete a Risk Assessment (NT and NU).  This assessment will help to determine the level of risk for exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace. In the NWT, businesses can only open if the risk is low. If your risk is currently high, you can use the ECP and the Worksite Exposure Control Measures info sheet help plan how you can lower the risk in your workplace.
  3. Have each of your employees complete the Field Level Risk Assessment (NT and NU). This form asks for information that is specific to each job or task at a worksite. Frontline workers often know best how to identify risks for exposure. This is an important tool that includes them in the safety planning process.
  4. Put the necessary hazard controls into practice:
    • Create new policies and procedures to address exposure risks;
    • Create or install any barriers, and online service tools;
    • Purchase a supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that you require workers to use while on shift;
    • Most importantly, train your employees on the new controls, policies, procedures, and on identifying the risks and hazards in your workplace.
  5. When you have completed steps 1 through 4, you will be able to re-open your business as soon as your Territorial health authority authorizes you to do so.
  6. Once your business is in operation, continue to review your Exposure Control Plan and the risk assessment documents to keep your plan up-to-date. These documents are working documents that you should continue to review and adjust as necessary.
You do not need to submit the completed plans to the WSCC. These forms do need to be in your workplace, and available if an inspector asks to review them.

There are also a few important things for you to remember as you work through exposure control planning and the risk assessments.
  • Elimination is always the most effective way of controlling hazards. If your workers are able to work from home, it may still be the safest option for your workers.
  • Your employees are an asset in creating your Exposure Control Plan. Encourage them to get involved in the process. Your workers have the right to participate.
  • Stay informed. WSCC resources are continually changing to meet the needs of employers and workers. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and check back on our COVID-19 Resource Page frequently to stay up to date with the latest tools and information.
  • For industry specific information on how to keep your workers safe, check out the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety's webpage for pandemic (COVID-19) tip sheets.
  • Use reliable information. If you need information on COVID-19, make sure to start your search on the website of your local health authority. They have the most reliable information (NT and NU).

Resource Feature: Exposure Control Planning  
step-by-step planning guide for safe work amid covid-19

From point A to Z of COVID-19 workplace safety measures, the Exposure Control Planning guide (ECP) is a tool that will help you create a plan for keeping your workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will walk you through each step of creating your organization's plan, and prompt you to ask the right questions for each step.
The Exposure Control Plan outlines:
  • Considerations of planning for the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace;
  • Responsibilities of employers, supervisors, and workers;
  • Guidance on filling out the risk assessment tools;
  • Hazard controls (measures that you put in place to prevent exposure to COVID-19);
  • Continued monitoring of the controls you put in place; and,
  • A list of additional resources.
You can also check out our one page Exposure Control Methods info sheet for an overview of different exposure control methods you can take.

Be prepared . NWT employers must work through your exposure control planning and implement hazard controls before your business re-opens. Even if your business is not yet permitted to open, you can start working through the Exposure Control Plan now, so you are prepared to re-open as soon as you are permitted.

Remember, exposure control planning is not a one-time exercise; your company's plan must regularly be evaluated, updated, and changed to meet the safety needs of your workplace.

For assistance, or to talk to a safety officer, contact us by email or by calling 1 (800) 661 0792.

Resource Feature: Respiratory Protection  
What level of respiratory protection do you need to do your job safely?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of exposure can be difficult to access during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly masks and face coverings. In addition to difficulty sourcing PPE and masks, there can also be confusion about what people need to stay safe. The Respiratory Protection Safety Bulletin provides a clear explanation on the type of PPE or mask you need for the level of risk in your industry.

Remember that PPE is only a part of exposure control planning and often the last line of defense for protecting your workers. Your Exposure Control Plan and Risk Assessments will ensure that you fully evaluate your workplace safety needs and identify if PPE is needed to protect your employees and clients.  In many cases, a combination of safety measures is necessary to control a risk.Other hazard controls may offer more effective protection, such as staggering shifts, physical distancing, barriers or screens, good cleaning practices and hand washing.

If you identify that PPE, including homemade masks and face coverings, is required equipment for your workers, it becomes your responsibility to train employees on how to properly use and care for it. Improperly worn or managed face coverings can increase the risk of exposure. As an employer, it is your duty to provide training to your workers on the hazard controls in your workplace.

Construction Season Has Begun  

With warm weather comes construction season. While employers need to ensure that workplaces are safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that workplace safety goes beyond exposure control. All hazards in your workplace must be addressed. Construction season bring new risks and hazards to the workplace.

For all employers:
  • Remind your employees to obey all traffic laws while on the roads. Traffic control personal depend on people driving safely.
    • If you employ Traffic Control Personal, check out WSCC's Safety Bulletin with tips and an outline of worker and employer responsibilities.
  • If you have renovations or construction happening around your working environment, make sure your workers are aware of any new hazards in their workplace. Provide them with the training on how to recognize hazards, as well as informing them of the safety measures you have put in place to keep your workers safe.
As construction projects begin, it is important to remember to:
  • Notify the Chief Safety Inspector of any high hazard work that your company is doing. The notification must be made a reasonable amount of time before the work begins. Notification can be made by calling 1 (800) 661-0792, or by
  • Be aware: Asbestos may be present in the construction project you are taking on. WSCC has a Code of Practice and a Safety Bulletin outlining information and safety regulations for working while exposed to this substance. It is important that employers and workers know the risk level and fully understand the hazard of asbestos.
  • Remember that your workers are entitled to training and education. For every new project, supervisors should thoroughly review every hazard in the workplace. Regular safety meetings will help you to identify any new hazards in the workplace. Getting your employees involved in this process is an important part of maintaining a solid safety program.  Workplace safety is everyone's responsibility.


WSCC's Yellowknife Office is closed for Indigenous People's Day on Monday, June 22nd, and will reopen on Tuesday, June 23rd at 8:30 AM.

To report a serious workplace injury or incident, call 1-800-661-0792.

To report unsafe work, use our Report Unsafe Work service on WSCC Connect.

If you have questions about safety at the worksite during COVID-19 or exposure control planning, please email   /  1.800.661.0792   *  /  1.877.404.4407