Protective barriers in the workplace

Posted: June 10, 2020
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As the city reopens, we know businesses are resuming operations at different rates, depending on their need for specialized equipment. Much discussion has been had around protective barriers and how they can most effectively be used in the workplace, whether it be a retail location or the office.

We caught up with Sean Court, Partner at Beaumont Cabinets and Millwork to learn more about the ways their customers are using barriers as they get back to business.

Beaumont, who also fabricates exhibit and trade show booths for large corporations around the world, has added a stream to their business to help refit workplaces during COVID-19.

How can businesses know if they require protective barriers in their workspace?

In general, protective barriers should be used in high traffic/greeting areas and especially when 2 meters of distance cannot be kept.

Where should protective barriers be considered?

We recommend that reception and service areas be reviewed first, as they experience the highest volume of people. More on those areas later.

Businesses should also consider office desks and cubicles and unique areas like a shared kitchen.

The key is to be considering customized protective barriers in areas where people cannot maintain 2 meters of separation.

How can businesses set up their reception/service area for success?

  1. Talk to your team about the way the area is used. What will they be required to do that will need to be supported through their protective barrier? Are they required to scan badges, or do they typically pass large items across the desk?
  2. Customize the protective barriers to your needs. If you have a retail store, you will need to be sure that the opening on your barrier is large enough to pass most items through instead of passing around. Passing around the barriers should be the exception, not the norm as it increases exposure.
  3. Consider voice ports if the area will be loud. This will prevent customers and clients from talking through the barriers, instead of to the side once again increasing exposure.

How can businesses be sure that protective barriers are used correctly?

Proper signage of company policy is important both for staff and for customers and clients. Clearly outline the physical distancing measures you have taken, and the expectations for how people should interact with those measures.

Businesses were not expecting these costs, how are these being funded?

  • Utilize grants if available

For the most up to date information on the Province of Nova Scotia’s occupational health and safety directives including the use of protective barriers, please visit



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