Health & Safety

handwashing.jpg
Health & Safety Measures

 

The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority.

Those returning to campus will experience a new environment - additional signage, new rules and regulations, changes to our physical spaces - things will look and feel a bit different.

Our students, faculty, and staff, are important partners in these efforts. When each of us adheres to these changes and follows the appropriate precautions, we make our entire community safer.

As we gradually transition back to campus, employees will receive information from their supervisors on when they will be required to report to work on campus.

Before returning to work on campus, employees must:

icon desktop View the eight-minute COVID-19: Return to Campus Essentials training module video on OWL.

icon desktopComplete the 'Return to Campus' questionnaire (accessed via My Human Resources) before each work shift/visit to campus.

icon stay homeStay home if you are feeling unwell. Complete the Absence Notification Tool and notify your supervisor.


Once on campus:

icon physical distancingPractice physical distancing. When possible, stay two metres apart.

icon maskWear a non-medical mask/face covering. This is required when in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. Western is supplying all employees with three washable masks.

icon handwashingWash hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your face.

icon disinfectingDisinfect your desk, work area, computer equipment and tools frequently.

Steps Western is taking to keep the campus community safe:

Guidelines for Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Who should wear non-medical masks/face coverings? 

Non medical masks

Western requires the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. These act as a personal hygiene measure to protect others from potential infectious droplets.

Tips for wearing non-medical masks: Public Health Agency of Canada



How to wear a mask safely

For some members of our community who work in a lab or clinical environment, wearing a mask properly is second-nature. But for many of us, wearing a mask safely will take a bit of practice.

This short video courtesy of the CBC gives a great overview of how to safely wear a mask.

Who should wear surgical masks?

Medical mask

Western requires those working in ‘wet’ research labs and teaching labs to wear surgical masks due to physical distancing challenges that may exist in these environments. It is recommended that those working in a shared lab environment should take breaks every 50 minutes, leaving the lab and preferably getting some fresh air outdoors.

Two surgical masks per person per shift is recommended, and the mask should be changed if it becomes wet.


Who should wear N-95 respirators?

N95 mask

Only those working in a clinical setting or in labs where N-95 respirators are normally required should wear them.

 

 

PPE in labs

Any PPE normally required in your lab should be worn at all times. These items could include:

  • Face shields
  • N-95 respirators
  • Surgical masks
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Booties

Reducing the Risk of Person-to-Person Transmission

It’s important to remember that personal protective equipment (PPE) is the final line of defense in protecting employees against occupational exposure. There are several levels of protection to be considered first before considering the need for PPE.

The first level of protection eliminates risk by limiting the number of people attending the workplace. Western’s phased return does just that, allowing units/faculties to permit employees who must return to campus to have a gradual, rotational, and periodic presence on campus.

If physical distancing isn’t always possible, engineering controls like installing barriers such as plexiglass to separate people are an important second level of protection. Western is reviewing several areas of campus where installing plexiglass will help prevent the spread of the virus.

The third level of protection uses administrative controls such as rules and guidelines to keep people physically separated. Western is working with a global architectural and space planning firm to inform our guidelines, signage, and wayfinding. Signage and posters are being installed across campus for elevators, dining areas, shared spaces and washrooms, to name a few examples.

When the first three levels of protection aren’t enough to control people’s risk, the fourth and final level of protection is PPE. Non-medical masks, when worn properly, can reduce the spread of one’s own respiratory droplets.

Levels-protection.jpg 

Ordering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Pandemic Supplies

There are important measures campus community members can take to keep themselves and others safe.

If you feel unwell, please stay home. Practice physical distancing whenever possible, staying two metres apart from colleagues and friends. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available. Avoid touching your face - especially your mouth, nose and eyes. And when physical distancing is a challenge, wear a proper face covering.

Ordering PPE and Pandemic Supplies

It’s important to remember that PPE is the final line of defense in protecting employees against occupational exposure.

Employees who feel they require PPE should speak with their supervisor.

Any personal protective equipment (PPE) or pandemic supplies (outlined below) must be ordered through the individual identified as designated requisitioner for your faculty/ unit via Mustang Market. This process will enable Procurement Services to properly manage inventory during this critical time.

Any other office or lab supplies not on this list can be ordered through normal channels.

Pandemic supplies include:

  • Pandemic-related Sanitary Supplies
    • Personal size hand sanitizer (keep empty containers to refill)
    • Medium, 2L pump bottle hand sanitizer (for higher traffic areas)
    • Large, 4L pump bottle hand sanitizer (for refilling personal size bottles)
    • Pump, threaded for use on 4L bottles (for refilling personal size bottles)
    • Sanitizing wipes or spray – with disinfectant (review label before using)
    • Surgical Masks, with ear loops
    • Disposable Nitrile Gloves for use in the disinfection process (small, medium, large & x-large sizes)
  • Plexiglass Barriers
    • Temporary plexiglass barriers may be useful when physical distancing is challenging such as higher frequency customer service/reception areas, and other common-use space applications.
    • Product is composed of clear acrylic sheets, precision-cut to sit on a sturdy free-standing base without the use of any adhesive or tape.
    • Material is easy to clean and sanitize, shatterproof, and easy to assemble and disassemble for storage.
    • Standard sizes should be appropriate for most applications, however, if there are specific requirements for permanent or customized barriers, University Machine Services (UMS) will review and advise while working with Facilities Management as appropriate.
    • A Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) review will be required for permanent solutions and will be coordinated by Campus Community Police Services once contacted by UMS.
  • Face Shields
    • Clinical and other specialty areas may require face shields when maintaining physical distancing is challenging and individual mobility is a necessity.
    • Product is composed of clear PETG plastic sheets, with adjustable Velcro head strap.
    • Material is easy to clean and is reusable.

Cleaning Measures

Building Services follows cleaning protocol recommendations of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Public Health and Government of Canada. There are also important steps faculty and staff can also take to ensure their own office and lab spaces are kept clean.

  • Common areas on campus are being deep cleaned and sanitized as each phase is deployed
  • Classrooms were deep cleaned prior to their closure in March 2020 and those not being utilized will remain locked.
  • Daily enhanced cleaning of common touchpoints such as door handles, elevator buttons, stair rails, etc.
  • Regular service schedule will apply to individual offices.
  • Building Services staff assignments will be adjusted to allow for additional cleaning while staff and faculty are on campus.
  • University vehicles, golf carts, and landscape equipment shall be used by a single occupant only and disinfected frequently, particularly touched surfaces, before and after each use.
  • The standard cleaning product used on campus for the last few years is the hydrogen-peroxide disinfectant cleaner E65H:
    • Proven effective in killing 99.99% of bacteria fungi and viruses, including COVID-19, when diluted for use as a disinfectant.
    • It is DIN (Drug Identification Number) registered. Environment Canada has tested and verified that this disinfectant is safe and effective.
    • Can be effectively applied through a variety of different methods such as microfiber cloths and electrostatic sprayers.
  • Faculty and staff are expected to continue to clean and maintain their own equipment including various electronics, keyboards, office equipment, lab equipment, lunchroom equipment such as fridges/coffee makers/Keurigs/microwaves, etc.
  • Non-commercial cleaning products can be purchased through Mustang Market.
  • More than 300 wall-mounted and portable hand sanitizer dispensers across campus will be regularly maintained. Western uses hand sanitizers that do not contain technical grade ethanol. 
  • Hand sanitizer bottles will be placed in meeting rooms and public spaces as each phase is deployed.

Concerns or questions regarding cleaning can be directed to Client Services (fm-help@uwo.ca or x83304).

Building Readiness

Following recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and Workplace Safety and Protection Services regarding mechanical systems (eg. HVAC), Facilities Management is making several adjustments to mechanical and water systems to ensure they continue running to the very highest quality standards.

  • Adjusting air handling unit schedules to increase run time
  • Increasing relative humidity in buildings to between 40% and 60% where possible
  • More than 50 air handling units that supply fume hood systems have 100% fresh air systems and run 24/7
  • Analyzing our demand management strategy where we intentionally reduce or shed fan systems to reduce energy consumption in peak periods
  • Encourage employees to open windows where practical and there isn’t a safety concern
  • Regularly scheduled flushing of water in piping

Concerns or questions regarding cleaning can be directed to Client Services (fm-help@uwo.ca or x83304).

Physical Distancing - People and Space

Key to our campus community is practicing physical distancing – we are asking all colleagues when possible, to stay two metres apart, or wear a non-medical/ face covering to protect other members of the community.

In an effort to have the most comprehensive and effective ‘return to campus’ plan, Western has contracted a global design and space planning firm to:

  • Test seating capacity and possible movement patterns within floor plans of existing buildings which will allow Western to gain further understanding to plan the capacity and use of the campus buildings in the fall
  • Make traffic flow recommendations and furniture modifications within spaces to ensure appropriate physical distancing
  • Review residences and dining halls
  • Review staging spaces for loading and unloading classrooms
  • Review capacity of other common spaces such as libraries, recreation, food service locations, retail, lab spaces and meeting rooms with traffic flow recommendations

Leaders with questions regarding the facilitation of physical distancing in their areas should contact hsw@uwo.ca.

Safety Signage

The following posters are being put up across campus. Staff and faculty may wish to download and print additional signage as required.

Research Recovery Resources

Is your lab ready for re-opening? Review the Lab Recovery Safety Checklist.

For information regarding plans for research recovery on campus, please visit: www.uwo.ca/research/recovery-plan

Physical and Mental Health Supports

The flexibility, support and patience of the campus community is so appreciated as we move through this transition. 

We know the challenges of managing your work are coupled with struggles of working from home, caring for school-age children or aging parents, and other personal trials presented by the pandemic.

Remember to find time to take care of yourself.

If you need help, we’re here to support you:

Additional environment-specific guidelines:

Office Environment

Non medical masks

Western requires the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. These act as a personal hygiene measure to protect others from potential infectious droplets. If you have any questions or concerns about face coverings, please discuss them with your leader/ supervisor.

  • Stagger shift and break times to ensure physical distancing of two metres; consider job task rotation
  • Avoid direct contact with high-touch/shared surfaces
  • Wipe surfaces and/or equipment with sanitizer wipe after each use; applicable to computers and keyboards, phones, kitchen equipment, photocopiers, office door handles, countertops
  • Use automatic door openers/light switches where possible using elbow/knuckle to turn on
  • Disinfect or use a barrier between your hand and high-touch surfaces
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue and promptly discard it
  • Wash or disinfect hands before and after leaving an elevator
  • Avoid gathering in lunchrooms, meeting rooms and shop areas
  • Hold meetings in an outdoor or large space to enable physical distancing
  • Restrict eating to clearly identified and dedicated eating areas, ensuring these areas have handwashing/sanitizer materials, cleaning materials and proper space to ensure physical distancing
  • Have controlled entry and exit points into an office area with traffic flow arrows and signs on floors to ensure proper physical distancing
  • Barriers such as plexiglass should be installed where there are customer service points/face-to-face interaction where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Upon returning home, wash clothes/face coverings immediately, wash hands and shower

Lab Environment

Medical masks

Those in labs with others are asked to wear a surgical mask for the protection of others. If you have questions, please discuss them with your leader/ supervisor.

  • Stagger shift and break times to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Avoid direct contact with high-touch surfaces
  • Disinfect or use a barrier between your hand and high-touch surfaces
  • Wash or disinfect hands before and after leaving an elevator
  • Avoid gathering in lunchrooms, meeting rooms and shop areas
  • Keep surfaces tidy and free of clutter so surfaces can easily be cleaned
  • Remember glove protocol and do not wear them outside of the lab
  • Change lab coats frequently, keep them separated from other lab coats (not on a coat rack) and wash them more frequently
  • Wear gloves while disinfecting surfaces
  • Wear gloves when using equipment that cannot be disinfected
  • Upon returning home, wash clothes/ face coverings immediately, wash hands and shower
  • Laboratory space and shared space must be disinfected after each use, including:
    • Lab benches
    • Fumehood touchpoints
    • Cabinet and drawer handles
    • Desks and chairs
    • Fridge, freezer, etc. handles
    • Computer keyboard and mouse
  • Guidelines for use of common equipment and instruments:
    • Disinfect after use
    • Only one user at a time
    • Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after use or wear clean gloves
    • Consider assigning equipment to individuals e.g. pipettors
  • Those wanting to make their own bleach disinfecting solution can follow the steps in this helpful resource.

Trades/Technical Research Environment

Non medical masks

Western requires the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. These act as a personal hygiene measure to protect others from potential infectious droplets. If you have any questions or concerns about face coverings, please discuss them with your leader/ supervisor.

  • Where possible, wear gloves when interacting with high-touch areas.
    • Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water after removing them.
  • Avoid the sharing of hand tools and power tools. If sharing is necessary, enable the sanitization of shared equipment.
  • Hold meetings in an outdoor or large space to enable physical distancing
  • Upon returning home, wash clothes/face coverings immediately, wash hands and shower
  • Avoid gathering in lunchrooms, meeting rooms and shop areas; if you have to, keep two metres physical distance
  • Upon returning home, wash clothes/ face coverings immediately, wash hands and shower

Classroom Environment

Non medical masks

Western requires the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in the presence of others and in common and shared spaces on campus. These act as a personal hygiene measure to protect others from potential infectious droplets. If you have any questions or concerns about face coverings, please discuss them with your leader/ supervisor.

  • Avoid direct contact with high-touch surfaces
  • Disinfect or use a barrier between your hand and high-touch surfaces
  • Wash your hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Wash or disinfect hands before and after leaving an elevator
  • Adhere to pedestrian traffic flow (single lane and bi-directional) signage in building corridors and inside classrooms
  • Ensure you are seated in the classroom at locations identified
  • Enter and exit the classroom at the identified locations
  • Enter and exit buildings at the identified locations
  • Upon returning home, wash clothes/ face coverings immediately, wash hands and shower

Clinical Environment

In addition to routine standard precautions, all staff in clinical settings need to follow proper infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines and implement mechanisms that reduce spread for anyone providing non-direct or direct care to patients.

Health Care Personnel

  • Staff who can work remotely should continue to do so, implementing alternatives to face-face visits and triage as much as possible. Using telemedicine for example.
  • The following should serve as a general direction, but all staff should receive site-specific training on transmission prevention, PPE, donning, offing, and disposal techniques.
  • Physical barriers should be established to limit contact with patients and priority must be given to aerosol-generating procedures
  • Avoid working in large groups when possible, it is important to apply standard precautions on a consistent basis.
  • All staff must wear proper PPE during close contact with patients, especially if the health professional has direct contact with body fluids of a patient.
  • Face shields or masks are not required if staff or faculty are able to maintain appropriate at least a two-metre distance and are not in direct contact with patients or staff. Example: A brief conversation with a patient at reception.
  • Regularly perform proper hand hygiene techniques both before donning and after doffing gloves and PPE and if hands are visibly soiled. Use alcohol-based rubs or soap and running water.
  • Staff involved with patient-care activities that are likely to involve contact with, or projection of, bodily fluids and blood are to wear gowns, shields and eye protection before procedures. Disposable gloves are to be used prior to direct contact with patients or any body fluids or mucous membranes.
  • Self-monitor for the appearance of symptoms, particularly respiratory symptoms, related to COVID-19. Staff should stay home if they are ill and if symptoms are consistent with that of COVID-19 while at work, they should wear a protective mask, inform their supervisor and leave the clinical setting or workplace.
  • Staff and faculty should follow additional guidelines provided by their respective regulatory colleges and regulatory agencies.
  • Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry staff and faculty should also follow guidelines recommended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.

Patient Management

  • Prior to scheduling medical, diagnostic or dental appointments, instruct patients to call ahead and discuss the need to reschedule their appointments if they develop symptoms similar to COVID-19.
  • Patients that may have flu-like symptoms similar to COVID-19 are to contact their health care service provider or contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit (519)-663-5317.
  • When scheduling appointments, evaluate if an appointment is necessary or if the patient can be managed from home
  • Limit and monitor the entry pattern of all patients to the facility. Design engineering controls to reduce exposure and limit contact. Reduce points of entry.
  • Regardless of symptoms, advise all patients and visitors to adhere to proper hygiene etiquette and social distancing rules & policies.
  • Post strategic signs providing instructions on limiting movement for all visitors and patients
  • Limit visitors to facilities unless required and ensure waiting rooms have adequate space to maintain a 2-metre distance between each patient.
  • Ensure that at the time of patient check-in all patients are asked about the symptoms related to COVID-19

Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs)

  • The number of health care professionals assisting in all procedures should be limited. Only staff and faculty essential for the procedure and critical to patient care are to be present. This applies to diagnostic procedures as well.
  • While working with AGPs, airborne infection isolation rooms should be used when possible.
  • Staff and faculty should wear proper high-level respirators when working with AGPs.
  • Surfaces and areas surrounding AGPs should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and promptly.

Preparing our Buildings