March 10, 2023 -- COVID may be declining. But it is not gone. Still around are the other various communicable diseases that can infect crews too. It is critical then, that workers do not come to work sick.
So, as seasonal forestry and reforestation crews start to follow the snow melt into the woods this year, employers need to be vigilant about managing communicable diseases and mindful of the rules that apply to sick workers.
BC SAFE Forestry Advocate Jordan Tesluk sees some challenges, particularly since most seasonal workers will not qualify for paid sick leave. “Piece-rate workers without paid sick leave may feel pressured to go to work when sick,” he states in a recent bulletin.
“Employers should evaluate what they can do to support workers in these circumstances and consider their responsibilities to all parties in the workplace.”
At the height of COVID restrictions with full-on industrial camp hygiene measures in place, crews remained remarkably healthy. Not only did COVID not appear, but other viral and bacterial scourges also abated as well.
Since the pandemic rules relaxed, so has everyone else, and preventable illness has begun to return to crews. Tesluk makes the point that complacency may be the worst threat to worker well-being when it comes to workplace infections.