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Dickson CPAs Covid-19 Safety Plan

In accordance with the order of the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia, under the guidance of WorkSafeBC, Dickson Chartered Professional Accountants (the ”firm“) has developed a firm COVID-19 safety plan.

Our safety plan involves a five-step process:

Step 1: Assessing the risks at our workplace
Step 2: Implementing protocols to reduce the risks
Step 3: Develop firm policies
Step 4: Develop communication plans to staff and clients
Step 5: Monitor our workplace and update plans as necessary

Step 1: Assessing the risks at our workplace

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways. It can spread in droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face. The risk of person-to-person transmission increases the closer you come to other people, the more time you spend near them, and the more people you come near. The risk of surface transmission increases when many people contact the same surface and when those contacts happen over short periods of time.

We have identified areas there may be risks, either through close physical proximity or through contaminated surfaces, including:

  • Reception area, break room, and meeting rooms.
  • Job tasks and processes where staff are close to one another.
  • Tools and equipment that workers share while working.
  • Surfaces that people touch often, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, and light switches.

Step 2: Implementing protocols to reduce the risks

We have implemented protocols to minimize the risks of transmission by following orders, guidance, and notices issued by the provincial health officer of British Columbia, WorkSafeBC, and our professional governing body – Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (”CPABC“).

Reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission

To reduce the risk of the virus spreading through droplets in the air, we have implemented protocols to protect against the identified risks. We have identified four levels of protection to follow. Wherever possible, we ask staff, clients, or others, to use the protocol that offers the highest level of protection. We have incorporated controls from various levels to address the risk in our workplace.

Our four levels of protection consist of:

First level of protection (elimination) – limit the number of people in our workplace. Rearranging work spaces to ensure workers have adequate distance from co-workers, clients, and others. Increasing the number of virtual meetings, rescheduling work tasks, considering work-from-home arrangements, and limiting the number of clients and others in the workplace. We have implemented measures to keep workers and others at least 2 metres apart, wherever possible.

Second level of protection (engineering) – for work areas where adequate distance cannot be maintained we have workstation barriers in place. We have included extensive workstation cleaning protocols in our workstation and office cleaning protocols.

Third level of protection (administrative) – we have established rules and guidelines, such as posted occupancy limits for shared spaces to keep people physically separated. We have clearly communicated rules and guidelines to workers through a combination of training and signage.

Fourth level of protection: Using masks – in certain situations when the first three levels aren’t enough to control the risk, we ask staff, clients, or others, to consider the use of non-medical masks that we provide for each staff member. We educate our staff on the limitations of non-medical masks to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets, therefore, we ensure staff are using masks appropriately.

Cleaning and Hygiene practices

We have implemented cleaning protocols for all common areas and surfaces – including washrooms, tools, equipment, shared tables, desks, light switches, and door handles. This includes the frequency that these items must be cleaned (number of times per day) as well as the timing. Our workplace has enough handwashing facilities on site for all our staff, clients, and others. Handwashing locations are easily accessible. We ask to staff to frequently handwash and practice good hygiene to reduce the spread of the virus. We ask visitors, and others, to hand sanitize when entering our workplace. We have a hands-free automated hand sanitizer easily accessible in our reception area.

Step 3: Develop firm policies

Our workplace policies ensure that staff, clients, and others, showing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from our workplace. Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days. Symptoms include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache. Anyone directed by Public Health to self-isolate. Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada or who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. Visitors are prohibited or limited in the workplace. We have a work from home policy in place (if needed).

Step 4: Develop communication plans to staff and clients

We ensure that everyone entering our workplace, including clients and others, know how to keep themselves safe while at our office. We ensure our staff are trained in workplace policies and procedures. All staff have received the policies for staying home when sick. We have posted signage at the main entrance, and the building property management have posted signage at all building entrances, indicating who is restricted from entering the premises, including visitors and workers with symptoms. Firm management has been trained on monitoring workers and the workplace to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.

Step 5: Monitor our workplace and update plans as necessary

We are constantly monitoring risks and making changes to our policies and procedures as necessary. Staff know who to go to with health and safety concerns. When we identify new areas of concern, or if it seems something isn’t working, we take steps to update our policies and procedures. We involve staff in the process as well.

Office Attendance Self Assessment

Please answer these self-assessment questions if you are considering a visit to our office:

  1. Are you experiencing any of the following:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Chest pain
    • Having trouble waking up
    • Feeling confused
    • Losing consciousness
  2. Are you experiencing any of the following:
    • Shortness of breath at rest
    • Inability to lie down due to difficulty breathing
    • Chronic health conditions related to breathing problems
  3. Are you experiencing any of these conditions:
    • Fever, temperature greater than 38 degrees Celsius
    • Coughing
    • Sneezing
    • Sore throat
    • Difficulty breathing
  4. Have you travelled outside of Canada, including the United States within the last 14 days? (Travel includes passing through an airport.)
  5. Did you provide care or have close contact with a person with Covid-19 (probable or confirmed) while they were ill? Did you have close contact in any of the following ways:
    • Provide care to individuals, healthcare workers, family or others without protective gear
    • Lived closely (within 2 metres) with an infected person
    • Had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids, due to lack or protective equipment

* If you responded NO to all of these questions, you may make an appointment to attend an in-person meeting at our office.

Thank you for your consideration, we appreciate it!

Dickson CPAs

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