How the safety of the public and our employees is guiding our COVID-19 response

Two circular blue floor decals with white footprints

As the first cases of COVID-19 began to appear in Canada, we worked quickly to develop and revise safe work procedures. Kent Blackmon, our Organizational Safety Services Manager, was guided by two main goals – keep the public safe and keep our employees safe.

“We had to be nimble and really focus our efforts to get thing done in a short about of time,” said Blackmon, adding one of the biggest struggles has been keeping up with the evolving information about COVID-19.

As with any safety concern, Blackmon said the focus initially was on avoiding the hazard. In the context of COVID-19, that meant getting people spread out to avoid close contact and modifying how tasks were being done.

“We want the best for our employees and need to make sure they can return safely home at the end of the day,” he said. “We follow the guidance of the province and the Public Health Officer and build on that.”

Ensuring work is safe

Several procedures had to be rewritten with COVID-19 risks in mind, including conducting front counter face-to-face interaction with the public, handling mail, and training employees on proper face mask usage. This was in addition to stocking additional cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and necessary personal protective equipment.

Each one of our approximately 10,000 employees was impacted in some way. Blackmon said he is impressed with how understanding everyone has been and willing to adjust how they do their jobs to keep themselves and others safe.

Blackmon has heard from other cities and large organizations who wanted to find out how we are doing things and use that as a guide.

“That was reassuring for us,” he said.

Reopening safely

Before any City services resumes, a thorough assessment is done by our Office of Emergency Management and safety is a significant part of the process. Not only does a resumption plan need to work on paper, it has to be able to physically work when put into practice.

“This is something you don’t rush,” Blackmon said.

Visitors to our facilities will notice plexiglass at our counters, floor decals to help with social distancing guidelines, increased availability of hand sanitizer, among other changes. Enhanced cleaning requirements have also been put in place.

“When we open the doors to a facility, we really mean it,” said Blackmon. “We will do everything to make sure things are safe and complying with public health requirements.”

Our COVID-19 website will continue to be updated with the latest information on affected programs and services.

Celebrating City employees COVID-19 Emergency and safety

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.