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sheet and pen with empty COVID-19 screening questionnaire indicating possible COVID-19 screening non-compliance

COVID-19 Screening Non-Compliance: How to Keep Your Policies Compliant

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 screening regulations were one of the first policies put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As months have passed your screening policies may have changed based on local regulation updates, regional risk concerns, or changes to internal processes.

While most regional governments in Canada and the US have had screening policy requirements since mid-2020, hopes for a broader reopening and a more active spring mean many regions have seen an increase in compliance checks. How your organization was screening in July 2020 may not meet up-to-date requirements in many areas.

Workplaces are being checked for COVID-19 screening non-compliance more than ever before and inspectors expect that organizations have had enough time to align their policies with all necessary regulations. Are your screening policies still compliant? 

Screening Regulation History

Most screening regulations include a set of standard questions that each employee and essential visitor must answer satisfactorily before entering the workplace. In mid-to-late 2020 most provinces and states in North America had adopted some version of a standardized screening questionnaire.

Screening policies were first enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep employees safe as organizations opened after the first wave. Screening programs also became a significant part of updated safety plans to make sure employers are providing safe workplaces as is required by many regional or federal health and safety standards. Throughout 2020, screening regulations have been formalized and continuously updated to ensure employers have clarity on what is required of them as COVID-19 guidelines change.

Active vs. Passive Screening

While screening can be conducted via an online screening app, in-person questionnaire, or in-person verbal screening, the main point many regulations refer to is that screening must be active, not passive. 

Active screening means that employers must actively collect and review screening questionnaires, or have a tool that reviews for them, to determine if someone can enter the workplace. This is compared to passive screening where employees assess their own risk factors and determine for themselves if they can report to work.

Active screening only applies to those who are entering a workplace for work purposes and if active screening isn’t possible, signage must be displayed instructing those with symptoms to not enter the premises. This is one of the main reasons an organization may be flagged for COVID-19 screening non-compliance.

A Rise in Screening Non-Compliance Enforcement

As we enter this new phase of the pandemic response with more and more businesses planning on reopening or asking employees to return to work this spring, we are seeing a spike in enforcement blitzes and COVID-19 screening non-compliance crackdowns. 

A recent report from the Government of Ontario stated that the most common ticketing offence for non-compliance in 2021 was poor or non-existent screening policies. With such simple, mobile screening apps available for just this purpose, all businesses should be taking advantage to eliminate the risk of non-compliance. 

Currently, there is no individual standard for how long organizations need to keep screening information. This is something that as time goes on has become tedious for organizations who chose to keep paper screening documents on hand. If you’re swamped in paperwork or are frustrated with your current screening process, please reach out to one of our experts to learn how we can help, or click here for more info on our Personal Protective App.