(Shelley) As Defence Team members gradually resume business activities, many are wondering about the occupational health and safety measures being taken across DND and CAF facilities to address COVID-19.
Today, we’re joined by the Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Major-General Frances Allen, to address some of these questions submitted online by Defence Team members.
(Shelley) So thank you so much for joining us today, ma’am.
(MGen Allen) Thank you, I’m glad to be here.
(S) First of all, what are some of the measures that you guys are putting in place to ensure safety, like: cleanliness, distancing at DND and CAF facilities across the country?
(MGen Allen) Absolutely, as we start to come back into the workplace I think we want to make sure that any location that was shut down for the period of time that people weren’t working there. Certainly we want to make sure RP Ops (Real Property Operations), so to get in and make sure the building is clean and ready for us to come back to work in. But we’re also trying to put in place measures that allow us to put in place the public health measures that we know are so important and effective for limiting community transmission of COVID. And that’s creating social distancing for people in the workplace that can come from directional movement inside buildings to ensure that people can keep that two metres of distance between them. As well as opportunities to make sure that they can wash their hands whenever they need to because we know that those are the two real keys.
(S) Are members working on-site required to wear a DND-issued, non-medical facemask?
(MGen Allen) The objective actually is that we keep our physical distancing from one another so you don’t need to wear a non-medical mask when you’re able to keep two metres distance between yourself and coworkers. We are providing, to people who have to return to the workplace, a mask if they work in certain situations where they can’t keep that two metre separation or distance. And that has been identified by everyone’s work environment as to where those types of work locations exist and what’s needed for the workforce as they come back into the actual workplace.
(S) Are there screening facilities at bases and wings across the country?
(MGen Allen) The screening facilities for bases and wings differs depending upon the location that we’re talking about because all of our bases and wings are different sizes, different places, and in different provinces. So the capacity to actually do screening testing does exist. Sometimes it’s through our Canadian Forces health system locations and sometimes it’s through other public health and provincial health facilities.
(S) Thanks so much for joining us today, ma’am. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
(MGen Allen) No, thanks for having me and a big thank you out to all of the occupational health and safety and workplace safety committees that are out there who have really been part of making sure that we all come back as necessary in a safe way. Thanks a lot, Shelley. I really appreciate it.
(S) Thank you.
For information on measures being taken to resume work across Defence, visit the Defence Team COVID-19 web site.