COVID-19 Resource Guide
The following is a guide to the available resources on the Farm Safety Nova Scotia Website. Please review the information in this guide to identify the resources that may be a fit to your farming operations. Some of the resources are available in Spanish. See notes below. The resource titles are highlighted in bold.
The COVID-19 Facts:
- Become informed using the COVID-19 Fact Sheet (Spanish) to learn about how it is spread, signs and symptoms, how to protect yourself, preventing the spread, and what to do if you are sick.
- Post the Entry Sign at each entrance to the farm to alert visitors and workers of the pre-screening requirements before coming on farm.
- Post the Driveway Sign to let visitors know there is restricted access on farm.
- The COVID-19 Screening Form is used to evaluate workers and contractors that may want to come on your farm. This form will collect the data you need to make an informed decision.
- The COVID-19 Daily Screening Form is to have workers evaluate themselves daily to ensure their fitness for work.
- The COVID-19 Communication Checklist is a resource that will help farmers to determine what information and resources they need to communicate to workers when they begin work on the farm during the pandemic.
- Post the Physical Distancing poster in several areas throughout housing and farm buildings as a reminder to keep 2 meters or 6 feet from another person as per the provincial imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hazard Assessment & Control:
COVID-19 is a health hazard that poses a risk to everyone who works on the farm as it is a respiratory illness that is capable of spreading from person to person.
The virus can be spread by breathing in droplets from the air when a person coughs or sneezes, contact from another person where the droplets now rest on their person, and through droplets that rest on surfaces that are commonly touched by all workers on the farm.
There are four methods of hazard control which can be implemented on farm to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Refer to the Hazard Identification Form to evaluate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on your farm and make changes to the form to suit your specific farm needs and communicate the controls to your work group.
Fatigue at Risk Management (FARM) is as simple as finding out what makes us over tired and coming up with ways to get more rest to be our best selves. During the COVID-19 pandemic, scheduling sleep may be challenging.
Use the Fatigue at Risk Management resource to develop a plan on how to mitigate this hazard that may easily get missed on the farm as for most of us, being tired is an everyday thing; but it shouldn’t be.
Our mental health is at risk when we are asked to self-isolate and change our routines. In this time of self-isolation and complying to imposed government restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is top priority to find creative ways to stay connected and charge your battery. Use the Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic resource to build your mental fitness plan.
The sample Pandemic Policy will help document your commitment and procedures of your response not only for COVID-19 but other infectious disease that may affect the farm operations. The policy addresses public access restrictions, essential tasks/workers, infection control, sick workers, vaccinations, worker training, PPE, maintenance on the farm, worker leave & pay, family & medical leave, travel, emergency contact information, special needs and accommodations, communications, resources list, support services, and a business continuity plan.
The sample Pandemic Emergency Response Plan for Pandemic or Flu Outbreak suggests a procedure in the event of an outbreak, the business continuity plan, and emergency information and equipment that may be required on your farm. Adapt this procedure to outline the specific needs on your farm.
Commodity Specific Best Practice Guidelines
The U-Pick & Roadside Stand Best Practice during COVID-19 is a collection of resources specifically for U-Pick & Roadside Stand operations to include hazard assessment and control, health and safety responsibilities, personal hygiene, facility hygiene, training workers, communication, parking & coming on property, transportation to the field, if there is an outbreak, and sample set up for Strawberry fields.
The Wild Blueberry Producers Best Practice During COVID-19 is a collection of resources specifically for Wild Blueberry producers to include hazard assessment and control, health and safety responsibilities, training workers, communication, transportation, procedure for an outbreak, personal hygiene, and facility hygiene. There is focus on heat stress, wearing face shields and protocols for Fresh Pack and Shipping and Receiving stations.
Safety training still needs to occur on the farm for new and returning employees. A few supplemental resources are available to help realize how training can be conducted in a pandemic situation and still maintain imposed restrictions. The Safety Training Procedures document gives guidance or best practices on completing the safety orientation in person or electronically, online training, as well as on-the-job training.
Use the New Worker Orientation Checklist to document the safety orientation. There is a section on training workers on COVID-19 procedures. Use the COVID-19 Communication Checklist to ensure you have provided all of the necessary information and resources.
Right to Refuse Unsafe Work:
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act workers have the right to refuse work they believe to be dangerous to themselves or to others so long as the danger isn’t a normal part of the job and the refusal doesn’t endanger any other person. Learn what this means during the COVID-19 pandemic by referring to the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work document. A reporting template is included with this information document.
Contractors make up a big part of on-farm activities and can ensure the continuity of the farm daily tasks. It is important to evaluate the contractor to ensure their fitness for work, their health and safety performance, and their compliance with OHS legislation.
Refer to the Contractor Questionnaire for a list of questions farmers should ask contractors before the contractor starts work on farm. This questionnaire has been updated to incorporate COVID-19 screening. An additional resource, is the Contractor Management Plan which outlines the farms health and safety expectations of contractors. This resource references the COVID-19 Screening Form and the expectation for contractors to self-isolate and not come on farm if they are experiencing symptoms of the virus.
One way to prevent the spread COVID-19 and flatten the curve is personal hygiene.
Refer to the Hand Washing (English & Spanish) poster to learn how to effectively wash the hands. Post the information at all hand washing stations and washing facilities on farm. Also available, a Spanish hand washing video to review the correct hand washing technique.
Refer to the When and How to Use Hand Sanitizer document on the correct use of hand sanitizer in combination with clean hands. Post this information with each supply of hand sanitizer. There are dangers to using hand sanitizer especially in the summer months due to the low flashpoint of the product. Refer to the Dangers of Hand Sanitizer for more information.
The Hand Washing Station in the Field document has some crafty options for providing hand washing stations where there are no permanent washing facilities in the field or in remote locations on farm.
There has been a great deal of controversy in the news on whether a mask is appropriate to wear and if masks may be more of a danger than a protective device. It is key to note that different masks provide different types of protection. Take a look at the Wearing a Mask resource to identify the basic types of masks and their uses. Post this on farm to educate your workers.
The N95 vs KN95 Comparison will outline the differences between these two types of masks and identify if they are suitable for the hazards identified on farm and provide worker protection.
Conserving Respirator Supplies is an informative resource on how to make the most out of your current respirators when there is a shortage of supply. This resource also outlines the different types of respirators and when to use cloth face coverings.
Nitrile gloves may be required when performing certain tasks on the farm. The purpose of the gloves is to prevent contamination. Gloves may need to be changed frequently and the Removing Gloves poster will provide information on how to correctly remove gloves in order to protect ourselves. Always wash hands once gloves are removed.
Stop the Spread of Germs (English & Spanish) infographic is a great poster to place in high traffic areas on the farm as reminders on how to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The poster includes social distancing, covering you cough and sneezes, avoid toughing your face, disinfecting touched objects, staying home if you are sick, and washing your hands.
There is an additional Spanish resource called The Protocol When Arriving Home. This outlines details on how to prevent the spread of the virus once the worker returns home from work or getting groceries.
The spread of COVID-19 is through person-to-person contact within about 6 feet or 2 meters via respiratory droplets on surfaces. Cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces is key to preventing the spread.
The How Long Can COVID-19 Live on Surfaces document outlines how long the COVID-19 virus remains viable on various surfaces. Knowing this surface time may help determine the cleaning and disinfecting schedule for each of the surfaces frequently used and touched and if additional control measures need to be implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Refer to the Cleaning and Disinfecting resource to learn what surfaces to clean, how to clean them, and how often to clean them.
Use the COVID 19 Housing Cleaning & Disinfecting Log and the On-Farm Cleaning and Disinfecting Log to document when areas have been cleaned and disinfected. In our busy days, it is hard to remember when tasks were last done. The log will make sure we stay on track with this important task.
The Disinfectants document outlines the types of effective disinfectants on the market that can combat the spread of COVID-19 and how to make your own.
COVID-19 preventative measures need to be taken in Plant Operations and in Slaughter Houses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst the employees and CFIA inspectors who work in this essential service in the agricultural industry. Risk of exposure of COVID-19 in the plant operation and slaughter house environment is high and risk mitigation procedures are required to protect the workers’ health and safety. Use the Plant Operations and Slaughter Houses information sheet to learn what is required for farms with similar operations.
Product Drop off To Customers & On-Farm Deliveries:
To continue business on the farm, adjusting how the business is conducted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is important. Farms may need to Drop-Off their product to customers and farms may need to have supplies delivered. The Product Drop-Off to Customers & On-Farm Delivery Procedures document may be helpful in building a plan to protect your workers health and safety during this process. The document includes choosing an adequate location, communicating instructions for the process, keeping a log, site preparations, and cleaning and disinfecting.
If You Are Sick:
The Sick with COVID Fact Sheet (English & Spanish) outlines the procedures required if you are sick. The document includes self-isolating, how to get medical care, monitoring your symptoms, wearing a mask, covering cough and sneezes, washing hands, cleaning and disinfecting as well as avoiding sharing household items, if possible, and when you can discontinue self-isolation.
If you are sick with COVID-19, the Managing Respiratory Symptoms at Home (English & Spanish) fact sheet may be helpful in learning what to do when you are sick and when to reach out to health care professionals.
Travelling Together or Carpooling:
Transportation is key in getting workers to farms or to fields in various locations throughout the county or province. It may not be practical or reasonable to have workers travel to these locations individually. The Best Practice gives hints and tips on how to travel from point A to point B to help stop the spread. Also, an Essential Worker Travel Letter will help communicate to officials and officers the purpose of travel if the workers are stopped during their transition from point A to point B. A Contact Tracking Log For Essential Workers can be used to document where the workers have traveled on farm business and be used as a point of reference, if needed.
COVID-19 on the Farm Considerations:
If a worker is showing signs and symptoms, is diagnosed with COVID-19, or has been in contact with someone who is sick or has been diagnosed, refer to the Trouble Shooting COVID-19 On-Farm fact sheet.
This section contains resources from the Government of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
The Government of Nova Scotia resources include a link to the latest COVID-19 updates for the province. The commodity specific resources include a Food Production Industry fact sheet as well as the provincial guidelines for U-Pick Farms and the Forestry Sector.
Personal Protective Equipment refers to Procurement Nova Scotia which is a PPE & Suppliers List as well as Ignite which is an industry specific portal to help you find a source for the personal protective equipment you need on farm.
The Fillable COVID-19 Protection Plan Checklist is a tool to build your own farm specific plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority is a link to their website where all of the latest information is available for COVID-19 to include assessment centers, news, resources, a link to the provincial website, visitor restrictions and temporary closures, and much more.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Prevention Guide
This is a guide to help you build your own COVID-19 plan and reference to the COVID-19 resources available on the Farm Safety Nova Scotia Website.
Maintaining Mental Fitness:
As mentioned in the Hazard Assessment and Control section, mental health can be a hazard on the farm and maintaining mental fitness is key in mitigating the hazard. Here you will find recent posts outlining tactics on how to maintain your mental fitness during COVID-19.
Also available is the 8 Domains of Well Being. This series is in the form of infographics which you can post or share on the farm.
Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Self-Isolation:
Temporary Foreign Workers are exempt from the prohibitions on entry to Canada that have been imposed under the Quarantine Act to prevent the risk of Canadians of the introduction and spread of COVID-19. In keeping with managing the risk of the spread of COVID-19, all TFW are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The following resources are available to help manage the self-isolation period and monitor the health of the workers.
The above listed Spanish resources can be used as a communication tool to ensure Spanish migrant workers have the information in the language they understand.
The TFW Employer Self-Isolation Requirements fact sheet gives an overview of all the requirements for the 14-Day Self-Isolation period.
Use the COVID-19 Daily Screening Form to ask detailed questions of the hygiene practices and symptom assessment and gain the workers commitment that the reason for the questionnaire is to ensure the health and safety of everyone on the farm.
COVID-19 Daily Health Screening Log is used to document the health screening practice and the overall condition of the worker each day.
The COVID-19 TFW Communication Checklist is used to document the communication requirements noting workers understand the requirements to prevent the spread, reporting if they are sick, personal and facility hygiene expectations, the self-isolation period, how to request supplies, imposed government restrictions, and violations of the Quarantine Act.
Reference the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture webpage (https://nsfa-fane.ca/covid-19/tfw/) to access more resources.