Whole Foods Market’s COVID-19 Safety Plan (WorkSafeBC)

British Columbia

This plan has been developed following the process described at COVID-19 and returning to safe operation opens in a new tab.

1. Assess the risk at the workplace

In collaboration with multiple internal stakeholders, we have identified areas where there may be risks of transmission, either through close physical proximity or through contaminated surfaces.

  • We have involved frontline team members, supervisors, and the joint health and safety committee (or worker health and safety representative, if applicable).

  • We have identified areas where people gather, such as break rooms, production lines and meeting rooms.

  • We have identified job tasks and processes where team members are close to one another or members of the public. This can occur in the workplace, in team member vehicles or at other work locations (if our team members travel offsite as part of their job responsibilities).

  • We have identified the tools, machinery and equipment that team members share while working. We have identified surfaces that people touch often, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and light switches.

2. Implement protocols to reduce the risks

Reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission

Different protocols are part of the plan to reduce the risk at varying levels found in the workplace.

First level protection (elimination): Limit the number of people at the workplace and ensure physical distance whenever possible

  • We have established and posted an occupancy limit for our premises. Public Health has advised that the prohibition on gatherings of greater than 50 people refers to “one-time or episodic events” (weddings, public gatherings) and is therefore not intended to apply to workplaces. However, limiting the number of people in a workplace is an important way to ensure physical distancing is maintained. [Public Health has developed guidance for the retail food and grocery store sector opens in a new tab that requires at least 5 square metres of unencumbered floor space per person (team members and customers). This allows for variation depending on the size of the facility.

  • In order to reduce the number of people at the worksite, we have considered work-from-home arrangements, virtual meetings, rescheduling work tasks, and limiting the number of customers and visitors in the workplace.

  • We have established and posted occupancy limits opens in a new tab for common areas such as break rooms, meeting rooms, change rooms, washrooms and elevators.

  • We have implemented measures to keep workers and others at least 2 metres apart, wherever possible. Options include revising work schedules and reorganizing work tasks.

Measures in place:

  • Limiting the number of customers that may be in the store.

  • Placing tape and other markings at least 2 metres apart in customer line areas inside the store and on the sidewalks, with signs directing the customers to use the markings to maintain distance.

  • Using in-store overhead messaging reminding people to practice social distancing and maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from others.

  • All team members have been instructed to maintain a minimum 2 metres distance from customers and each other except when employees need to momentarily come closer for accepting payment or delivery of goods.

  • Social distancing posters are posted near time clocks and in break rooms.

Second level protection (engineering): Barriers and partitions

  • We have installed barriers where team members can’t keep physically distant from coworkers, customers or others.

  • We have included barrier cleaning in our cleaning protocols.

  • We have installed the barriers so they don’t introduce other risks to team members (e.g., barriers installed inside a vehicle don’t affect the safe operation of the vehicle).

Measures in place:

  • Sneeze guards have been installed at checkout stands.

Third level protection (administrative): Rules and guidelines

Measures in place:

  • We have consulted WorkSafeBC guidance and Provincial and local guidance to develop rules and guidelines that are communicated to our team members through signage and training, including daily pre-shift team huddles.

Fourth level protection: Using masks (optional measure in addition to other control measures)

Reduce the risk of surface transmission through effective cleaning and hygiene practices

  • We have reviewed the information on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces opens in a new tab.

  • Our workplace has enough handwashing facilities on site for all our team members. Handwashing locations are visible and easily accessed.

  • We have policies that specify when team members must wash their hands and we have communicated good hygiene practices to team members. Frequent handwashing and good hygiene practices are essential to reduce the spread of the virus. [Handwashing opens in a new tab and Cover coughs and sneezes opens in a new tab posters are available at worksafebc.com].

  • We have implemented cleaning protocols for all common areas and surfaces — e.g., washrooms, tools, equipment, vehicle interiors, shared tables, desks, light switches and door handles. This includes the frequency that these items must be cleaned (number of times per day) as well as the timing (before and after shift, after lunch, after use).

  • Team members who are cleaning have adequate training and materials.

  • We have removed unnecessary tools and equipment to simplify the cleaning process — e.g., coffee makers and shared utensils and plates.

Cleaning protocols:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures are performed throughout the day, every day, on top of our standard stringent protocols.

  • In-use food contact surfaces cleaned/sanitized every four hours of continuous use.

  • Non-food contact surfaces cleaned/sanitized daily/as needed such as disinfecting and sanitizing food surfaces and non-food surfaces on a nightly basis.

  • Register belts and counters and credit card machines/ATMS are cleaned/sanitized three times a day.

  • Time clocks: team members sanitize hands after every use.

3. Develop policies

Our workplace policies ensure that team members and others showing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from the workplace.

  • Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 7 days. Symptoms include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache.

  • Anyone directed by Public Health to self-isolate.

  • Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada or who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor opens in a new tab for symptoms.

  • Visitors are prohibited or limited in the workplace.

  • First aid attendants have been provided OFAA protocols opens in a new tab for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We have a work from home policy opens in a new tab in place (if needed).

  • Ensure team members have the training and strategies required to address the risk of violence that may arise as customers and members of the public adapt to restrictions or modifications to the workplace. Ensure an appropriate violence prevention program opens in a new tab is in place.

Our policy addresses workers who may start to feel ill at work. It includes the following:

  • Sick team members should be asked to wash or sanitize their hands, provided with a mask, and isolated. Ask the team member to go straight home. [Consult the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool opens in a new tab, or call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation].

  • If the team member is severely ill (e.g., difficulty breathing, chest pain), call 911.

  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that the ill worker has come into contact with.

4. Develop communication plans and training

  • We have a training plan to ensure everyone is trained in workplace policies and procedures.

  • We have posted signage at the workplace, including occupancy limits and effective hygiene practices.

  • We have posted signage at the main entrance indicating who is restricted from entering the premises, including visitors opens in a new tab and workers opens in a new tab with symptoms.

  • Supervisors have been trained on monitoring workers and the workplace to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.

5. Monitor your workplace and update your plans as necessary

  • We have a plan in place to monitor risks. We make changes to our policies and procedures as necessary.

  • Workers know who to go to with health and safety concerns.

  • When resolving safety issues, we will involve joint health and safety committees or worker health and safety representatives (or, in smaller workplaces, other workers).

Explore More