OHAO and COVID-19
OHAO is concerned about the spread of the COVID 19 virus and the third wave of this pandemic. OHAO continues to actively monitor the provincial and global situation. OHAO is committed to maintain stakeholder relationships with public health and regulatory agencies and formally providing advice when warranted. With continued discussion of workplaces amassing in the media, the Occupational Hygienist continues to play a significant role in contributing to the safe and healthy return to work.
On December 21, 2021, the OHAO Board of Directors sent a letter to the PHO communicating our concerns in their recent “December 15, 2021 Interim IPAC Recommendations” messaging suggesting that N95 respirators do not provide significant protective effect over medical masks. It has been long established that N95s respirators are tight fitting and reduce wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, including small particle aerosols and large droplets, whereas medical masks are loose fitting and contain the wearer’s respiratory particle emissions. Please see letter here.
On May 28, 2021, the OHAO Board of Directors sent a letter to Public Health Ontario in support and gratitude for including an update of the science that includes aerosol transmission. We encouraged PHO to engage collaboratively and take a multi-disciplinary approach with key stakeholders in workplace health and safety (such as the MLTSD, other Partners in Prevention, and occupational hygiene professionals) who have been working tirelessly to prevent workplace transmission. Please see the letter here.
On April 26, 2021, the OHAO Board of Directors sent a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Skills Development encouraging them to do more to reduce risk of spread of the new variants of concern that appear to be overwhelming previously prescribed control measures in many workplaces. OHAO made specific points for consideration centered on ventilation, enhanced PPE, onsite testing and stop work orders. Please see the letter here.
In January 2021, OHAO was a participating body in an open letter that was sent to the prime minister, premiers and chief medical officers of the federal, provincial and territorial government entitled, “Time for government to take aerosol transmission of COVID-19 seriously”. See the letter here.
In April 2020, the OHAO Board of Directors contacted members in government and healthcare agencies to offer assistance in the prevention of transmission in the workplace.
Over the past year, OHAO has been active in sharing information and providing opportunities to the Membership to help navigate this ever evolving pandemic. This has been done through email updates (see members only Document Downloads -Member Submission), town halls, education events, and the OHAO LinkedIn page, click here for the OHAO LinkedIn page.
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