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How Do OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines Affect Workers’ Compensation?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Joliet workers' compensation lawyerThe coronavirus pandemic has affected the world in many ways, causing a global health and economic crisis. After taking office this year, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders that addressed COVID-19 worker protections. As of now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protocols outlined in the executive orders are guidelines, but it is expected that these guidelines will soon become enforceable. Some of President Biden’s directives to OSHA were concerning COVID-19 guidelines and another was to potentially implement emergency temporary standards to address the hazards that employees face in the workplace. If these guidelines become standards, they will then be enforceable. The executive order stated that the deadline to make these changes is March 15, 2021. Workers may wonder how these guidelines may affect workers’ compensation claims if they suffer a COVID-related illness while on the job. 

Keeping Workers Safe

Employers should take steps to protect workers who are at higher risks due to underlying medical conditions. It is important that companies train employees on their COVID-19 policies and procedures and that they are easily accessible.

Several of the current OSHA-recommended COVID-19 guidelines for employers state that employers should do the following: 

  • Require all employees to wear face masks.

  • Work with workers and unions to implement a COVID-19 pandemic prevention program.

  • Appoint a workplace coordinator who oversees the pandemic prevention program for the employer.

  • Identify how and where workers might be exposed to the virus.

  • Implement a policy that outlines isolating and sending employees home who are infected or possibly infected with the virus.

  • Put physical distancing rules or physical barriers in place in work and communal areas. 

  • Improve airflow and ventilation in all work facilities.

  • Ensure that all workers have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) needed.

  • Ensure that all employees have appropriate products for good hygiene practices.

  • Perform routine cleaning and disinfecting of all work facilities, with extra cleaning and disinfecting for areas where an infected employee was working. 

If an Illinois employer fails to post these guidelines or enforce safety measures, employees risk contracting COVID-19 and related illnesses while working. If they get sick, they may be able to seek compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. 

Contact a Joliet Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

There are many scenarios that can lead to a work injury. If you are unsure whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, the skilled legal team at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC will assist you in filing the necessary paperwork. Our reputable Will County workplace injury attorneys will guide you through the process so you can focus on healing and returning to your daily activities and job. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/about/Documents/FY2017AnnualReportFinal.pdf

https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/safety-topics/overexertion-and-bodily-reaction/

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