November 7, 2020
WSPS and LO Guidelines for Winter Maintenance companies

WSPS and LO recommendations for winter maintenance professionals 

Don’t let your guard down

With winter once again descending on Ontario, we know you and your employees are getting prepared for a busy season ahead. 2020 has been a challenging year, and along with all of the usual winter safety considerations, businesses will need to take precautions to safeguard their people against COVID-19. It’s critical to remember that we’re not on the other side of this pandemic yet – so don’t let your guard

In the spirit of keeping everyone safe, we’ve put together some important information for you to keep in mind. If you need any assistance or have some questions, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services would be delighted to help you out. Send an email to or call 1-877-494-9777.

Stay safe and well.

New COVID-19 Response Framework: What it means for you

The province's new COVID-19 Response Framework, was announced in November. It features five progressive levels – Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown.
Levels are assigned on a regional or community basis, and are determined by an assessment of risk in the particular region or community. Each level builds on the previous level, and includes workplace
safety measures, such as requirements for workplace screening. The framework also includes a requirement for some workplaces to have a safety plan to control COVID- 19 transmission. All businesses open in Grey-Lockdown must have a safety plan. Currently, a safety plan is not required for snow removal service providers in other levels, however, a government inspector could ask about your plan during a visit.

Create your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Creating a safety plan is a wise practice – think of it as investing in your business. You may have policies and procedures in place, but a safety plan ties everything together and tests for any weak spots in your

Find out how to get started on your safety plan with these resources:
  • Learn how to develop your COVID-19 Safety Plan (Template from Ontario government)
  • Review the Building Your Safety Plan Webinar from WSPS
  • Listen to WSPS’ Small Biz Safety Podcast – Episode 1 is all about creating a safety plan
  • New COVID-19 Response Framework How to create your safety plan (Article)

Monitor and follow Public Health advice

Be sure to stay up to date on the latest Public Health recommendations and comply with all directives and/or requirements. Follow recommended infection control practices on topics such as face coverings,
proper hygiene, physical distancing, etc. Protect your team – and yourself

Here’s a COVID-19 prevention refresher on steps everyone should take:
  • Clean your hands and gloves often, including before and after contact with surfaces
  • Avoid high-touch surfaces, where possible, or ensure you clean your hands and gloves afterwards using soap and warm water or hand sanitizer
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth – sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Wear face coverings (here’s an article with some great information)
  • Practice physical distancing from others (at least a 2 metre separation)
And here are some practices to put in place at your workplace to help stop the spread:
  • Encourage workers to report to employers or supervisors and stay home if they’re feeling ill
  • Communicate COVID-19 prevention and response instructions to workers in applicable languages
  • Implement active and passive health screening at the workplace (here’s an article to help with this)
  • Provide portable handwashing stations and hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Clean and decontaminate clothing (e.g. gloves, ear, head and neck warmers, coats), Personal Protective Equipment and surfaces (e.g. keypads, screens, containers, packaging, equipment, tools, vehicles) often
  • Use technology to send and receive documents
  • Don’t share pens, styluses, personal items, or containers for food and water
  • Eliminate face-to-face contact where practical – stagger start times and breaks
  • Use physical barriers that don’t obstruct vision between workers where practical
  • Limit the number of workers in one space at one time – cohort or group workers to reduce exposure and record locations of workers
  • Assign equipment, tools and vehicles to workers – limit the number of workers in vehicles and assign seats
  • Provide appropriate devices and Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. appropriate clothing for snow removal)

Additional COVID-19 Resources

Check out WSPS’ COVID-19 Resource Hub for more resources, guidance documents and sample safety

Helpful Articles:
  • 4 ways to prevent a COVID-flu “twindemic” in your workplace
  • Reducing close contacts to avoid transmission of COVID-19
And remember – COVID-19 isn’t the only potential hazard out there

Focusing on stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a top priority – but remember the other hazards that
snow removal presents. Don’t forget about:
  • Following safe work practices and ensuring everyone has the training they need
  • Implementing and maintaining controls such as proper guarding
  • Protecting your team from other risks such (e.g. cold stress, fatigue)
  • Checking in regularly with those who work alone
Have a safe and successful season!