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With patio season here, WorkSafeBC ramping up inspections of wineries, brew pubs and cideries

With sunshine starting to heat up the Okanagan and patio season becoming top of mind, WorkSafeBC says it will be visiting wineries, brewpubs and cideries throughout the Interior for the next three weeks to ensure COVID-19 protocols are being followed.

“Officers will be looking at all three areas of business during their visits: agriculture, manufacturing, and retail/tasting rooms,” WorkSafeBC said in a press release on Friday.

WorkSafeBC is calling it an “inspectional and consultative initiative” in advance of the upcoming tourist season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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“The initiative will be primarily completed in B.C.’s Interior and will focus on establishments with tasting rooms that may see an increase in customers in the workplaces,” said WorkSafe.

“The inspections and consultations will confirm that up-to-date COVID-19 safety plans are in place and implemented effectively, and controls are in place to protect workers from COVID-19 transmission.”

“With warmer weather here and summer fast approaching, these businesses will likely see increased activity in all three areas of their operations: agriculture, manufacturing, and customer visits,” said Al Johnson, head of prevention services at WorkSafeBC.

“As the number of workers increases, manufacturing ramps up, and tasting rooms attract more visitors over the summer, we need to ensure these employers have updated and effective COVID-19 Safety Plans in place to protect their diverse workforces.”

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WorkSafeBC said it will conduct approximately 40 field inspections and 35 consultations in the sector over the next three weeks.

“We want to ensure we are working with B.C. wineries, cideries and brewpubs in order to help these businesses prepare for a safe and successful summer,” said Johnson.

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According to WorkSafe, 27,248 COVID-19-related inspections and 4,887 consultations have been conducted as of May 8, with 3,099 COVID-19-related orders having been issued for health and safety violations.

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