October 2021
Volunteers and Supporters of SWO Gleaners
COVID-19 Important Re-OPEN Notice

Goal: To safely get back to having one morning shift including a coffee break, with the utmost due diligence when it comes to health and safety of our staff and volunteers in light of COVID-19. Our Health and Safety Policy states: “Southwestern Ontario Gleaners is vitally interested in the health and safety of its employees and volunteers. Protection for them, from injury or occupational disease is a major continuing objective. We will make every effort to provide a safe, healthy work environment.”

How: As of October 25, 2021, the SWO Gleaners will mandate that all staff and volunteers will have to be double vaccinated against COVID – 19 to enter the building. This mandate will have no exceptions. We will continue to assess hazards with a COVID-19 lens. We should assume any surface could be contaminated and every person could get this virus. We will identify risks and come up with controls to address and mitigate these risks. Until there is a vaccine or treatment that keeps everyone fully safe, these control strategies, or best practices will need to be used.

Three steps:
1. Elimination and Substitution Controls; an example could be to eliminate coffee break, or to substitute a new format for our existing way of doing coffee break.

2. Engineering controls: can include physical barriers like plexiglass or working from home, and things like having fewer volunteers in the building at one time.

3. Administration Controls; include human behavior controls such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, separation between work stations, staggering coffee break times and other means whereby we are eliminating or reducing close contact with one another. Other examples might be no handshaking, putting decals on the floor to set up a traffic flow. Also included in this would be extra cleaning procedures and how we self-monitor ourselves in terms of how we think about illness.

Ultimately we need to think proactively and use a hierarchy of controls to combat COVID 19. Personal Protective Equipment is our last control from the hazard. Sometimes the hazard may still be there even with the above protocols, so PPE still needs to be used. Eg. Gloves, face masks (mandatory), face shields (optional) etc.

To do this successfully, teaching and enforcing safety practices will be crucial. Managers will have to make sure staff complies, while managers and staff will make sure volunteers comply. Not unlike other hazards, the workplace shares different roles and responsibilities between the Employer, Supervisor and Worker.
This is laid out in the Labour Standards Act and in our Health and Safety Policy.
Employer (Board of Directors): duty to provide safe work environment, to point out hazards and to provide controls to protect from those hazards
Supervisor (Manager and Staff): duty to ensure workers comply with the guidelines set out by the Employer.

Double Vaccination Policy

October, 25, 2021

Effective Monday October 25, 2021, the SWO Gleaners will mandate that all staff, volunteers and visitors be double vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of double vaccination will have to be shown to enter the building.

With only fully vaccinated people coming into our facility, the plan is to return to an 8am-12noon shift and have a sit-down coffee break in between.  Social Distancing and other COVID protocols will continue to be in place.

The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors continues to be our first priority and so we continue to encourage all to be vaccinated. With this vaccine mandate policy in place, we will be able to increase our capacity resulting in increased production, and more people receiving our vegetable mix.

If you have any questions, please direct them to the General Manager, Joel Epp. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners.


Joel Epp, General Manager

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