Delaware County (Delco) Lawyer for Work Injury Caused by Coronavirus Unsafe Work Conditions
As the coronavirus sweeps across the country, businesses are shutting their doors, limiting their hours of operation, or are making arrangements for their employees to work from home. In some circumstances, that is not possible and essential employees and some companies continue to function as close to normal as possible.
While these businesses face an uncertain economic future, there is also a danger that the people working for them could contract COVID-19. If you were infected with the coronavirus while working, contact our Delaware County lawyer for work injuries caused by the coronavirus. We will evaluate your case and determine if your employer should be held responsible for your illness. Contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 for a free and confidential consultation.
Occupational Safety and Health Act and Delaware County Employer’s Duty
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, an employer has a duty to maintain a place of employment where their employees are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause or are causing serious physical harm or death.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide the safest possible workplace for Delaware County workers, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a number of recommended guidelines for employers to follow.
Due to how quickly the coronavirus spread and disbursed the country, OSHA has not provided official standards for employers. Instead, recommended guidelines were announced that lack the enforceability of other OSHA standards. The “general duty clause” is still in effect and is still enforceable. Under OSHA’s “general duty clause,” employers must provide a workplace that is free of known hazards that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death. Some of the ways an employee could comply with the recommended guidelines and the “general duty clause” include:
- Ensure that a comprehensive plan is in place to manage employees during the coronavirus.
- Outfit the workplace with sanitary and wash stations while instituting preventative measures such as regular cleaning and disinfecting public and restricted areas.
- Provide employees information and training in recognizing symptoms of COVID-19. Ensure that a procedure is in place to deal with sick employees, isolating them from others if necessary.
- Create a work environment that allows for social distancing.
Liability of Delaware County Employers for Sick Employees
The coronavirus is raising many legal questions concerning liability and employee rights. What we do know is that COVID-19 is a hazard. Your Delaware County employer has been provided recommended guidelines issued by both OSHA and the CDC to help prevent the spread of infections among workers. Certain conduct could open an employer to liability should an employee become infected in the workplace.
- Failing to provide employees sufficient information and training regarding the spreading of the coronavirus.
- Not implementing a procedure to address sick employees or monitor potential symptoms. Systems should be in place to protect healthy workers from infected ones.
- Failing to set up the workplace that allows for employees, if possible, to socially distance while working. If the type of work makes it impossible to provide six feet of space, then adequate protections should be provided to mitigate the chance of infection.
- Allowing employees to work without personal protection equipment, such as masks or gloves.
- Improperly cleaning or disinfecting the workplace on a regular schedule.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, COVID-19 is now considered a direct threat to other employees. An employer could potentially open themselves up to liability by failing to adequately inform their employees about company health and safety procedures, properly educate their employees regarding symptoms and methods of transmission, or share state and public health guidelines. Additionally, businesses should implement procedures to minimize the risk of transmission in the workplace, including providing easy access to handwashing stations, wipes, and sanitizers.
To further reduce the risk of spreading the virus, employers should be wary of overcrowded areas in the workplace and make arrangements, if possible, for working remotely. Furthermore, employees should be instructed to inform management or staff if they have been exposed to coronavirus. It is important that an infected employee be immediately sent home and that procedures are in place to ensure this happens in a timely fashion, with a minimum of risk to other employees or managers.
Liability law concerning COVID-19 remains unsettled. However, if an employee contracts the coronavirus through work and claims that the infection is a direct result of the employer’s negligence, the employee may file a personal injury claim.
As the situation continues to change, some insurance carriers are exploring excluding coronavirus from employer’s liability coverage. Our experienced Delaware County personal injury attorneys for workplace coronavirus exposure will carefully review any relevant insurance policy for such language.
Call Our Delaware County Lawyer for Work Injury Caused by the Coronavirus due to Unsafe Work Conditions for a Free Consultation
The coronavirus is drastically changing the way people work and the challenging the current legal standards of safety in the workplace. Our Delaware County (Delco) lawyers for work injuries caused by the coronavirus due to unsafe work conditions have 35 years of representing individuals injured at work. While the current pandemic is presenting new and complicated legal challenges, many of the same principles of negligence still apply. Our attorneys are carefully reviewing the existing law while keeping a close eye on legal developments throughout the state and the nation. You need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who is dedicated and prepared to take up this new fight. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free consultation and review the details of your case.