Workers’ safety is especially important during COVID-19 times because the workplace is one possible viral transmission site. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that businesses play a key role in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus and can take many steps to help protect their employees during this time.
Both CDC recommendations and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards indicate that respiratory protection should be made available to employees, such as face masks and other protective barriers.
What is required of employers during COVID-19
According to OSHA safety standards, there are a number of requirements for employers that could be applicable for businesses facing the threat of COVID-19. These standards include:
- The OSHA Act of 1970: Which mandates general safety provisions for workers—this means that workers should be provided with an environment free of dangers that could cause major illness or death
- OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standards. Whenever the provision of respiratory protection is necessary, employers are expected to provide them to workers.
The CDC reports that this means employees are required to determine where PPE is necessary for exposed employees, supply PPE free of charge, and train employees on how to use PPE properly.
What is recommended to employers during COVID-19
In addition to OSHA’s standards, the CDC makes numerous recommendations to guide employers on how to provide a safe environment for employees during COVID-19 times.
Employers are encouraged to:
- Prevent and limit the spread of the virus among workers
- Offer a healthy work and business environment
- Consider building COVID-19 testing into the work environment
- Encourage sick workers to stay at home
- Offer flexible and non-punitive paid time off for sick workers
You may be able to seek workers’ compensation
If you sustained injuries or a workplace-related illness while working for your employer, the workers’ compensation system might be your best route to seek compensation. However, workers’ compensation benefits are determined on a state-by-state basis.
According to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for instance, you may be able to file for workers’ comp if you were exposed to the novel coronavirus on the job. Information from the state notes that you should report your illness to your employer within 21 days after you were infected or discovered that you were ill.
If you are eligible for benefits, you could seek:
- Compensation for lost income (if you were out of work for over a week)
- An award for two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to the illness
- Reimbursement for medical costs related to your illness
One of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Pennsylvania can help you determine what you may qualify for and help you seek benefits.
Other alternatives to benefits for sick employees
According to the CDC, other benefits avenues for sick workers include the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These acts may allow workers to take paid leave time if they are sick due to the novel coronavirus.
Filing a lawsuit against your employer may be challenging
Both OSHA and the CDC make it clear: Employees should be offered a safe work environment. However, it is often challenging to bring a lawsuit against an employer in many states—even if you feel that your employer is not living up to OSHA’s standards.
In part, this has to do with the way workers’ compensation is designed in most states. In exchange for the potential of seeking workers’ compensation benefits, many employees are restricted in their right to sue an employer. If your employer’s actions were particularly reckless or you were intentionally exposed to danger, we can tell you more about your legal options.
Call Cordisco & Saile LLC today for guidance on your legal options
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Bucks County from our firm might be able to help you seek benefits if you got sick from COVID-19 at work. We can help you seek reimbursement for your medical costs, lost wages, and more.
We can help you by:
- Explaining what benefits you qualify for
- Explaining how much you may be able to seek
- Ensuring that all your workers’ compensation paperwork is properly submitted
- Managing any disputes to your claim that may arise
- And more
If you have other questions about why workers’ safety is so important during COVID-19 times or how personal injury lawsuits work, you can talk to our team about those questions, too. Call a representative from Cordisco & Saile LLC to receive a free case review and get started today by dialing (215) 642-2335.
We do not charge our prospective clients for their consultations. You do not write us a check up front for us to get started on your case.