Philadelphia Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dangerous Work Conditions
The Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 has spread throughout the nation, infecting people of all walks of life. To mitigate the spread of the disease, non-essential businesses were closed across Pennsylvania and in the Philadelphia area. As businesses now begin to reopen slowly, many legal issues and questions remain. When an employee contracts COVID-19 through their employment, it gives rise to potential legal claims against the employer.
If you or a loved one was infected by COVID-19 in the workplace, contact our Philadelphia attorney for work injuries caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) dangerous work conditions. Our lawyers have over three decades of experience fighting for individuals injured while at work. To schedule a free, confidential appointment, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000.
National COVID-19 Safety Recommendations for Philadelphia Businesses
To promote safety in the workplace during the pandemic, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published recommendations and guidelines for businesses to implement to protect their employees from the coronavirus.
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the recommendations issued lack the enforceability of previously released safety standards. However, that does not preclude them from creating a framework to hold businesses legally accountable for creating a dangerous work environment.
OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1, or the “General Duty Clause,” is an enforceable provision that legally requires businesses to provide their employees a work environment that is free from recognized dangers that could result in severe physical harm or death.
Together with the “General Duty Clause,” the recent guidelines issued by both OSHA and the CDC, provide a blueprint of actions employers should take to protect their workers from the coronavirus. To promote a safe work environment, Philadelphia employers should take the following measures.
- Provide employees adequate training on recognizing the risks and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Regularly clean and disinfect the workspace.
- Implement a plan to address sick employees, including monitoring their current health and ensuring that sick employees remain at home.
- Configure the work environment to allow for social distancing. If this is not possible, then the employee should take measures to protect employees from each other and the general public, for instance, plastic shields between individuals.
- Ensure that the workspace has enough wash stations to accommodate the entire workforce. These stations should be well-stocked.
- Provide employees the proper safety equipment, such as gloves and masks.
Holding Philadelphia Employers Liable for Injuries Related to COVID-19
Liability law concerning COVID-19 remains uncertain. The first lawsuits for wrongful deaths and injuries related to the coronavirus have been filed across the country and in Philadelphia. Our skilled attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm are well-versed in employment liability law and are keeping a close watch on current legal developments. We believe that a negligence argument could be based on a business’s failure to comply with the recommendations issued by the CDC and OSHA, when combined with an employer’s legal obligations under the “General Duty Clause.”
Violations under the “General Duty Clause” require a recognizable hazard. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has categorized the coronavirus as a hazard to workers’ health. As an airborne contagion, the virus is a threat to anyone in the vicinity of an infected individual.
In addition to being known, the hazard must also present a significant threat to the health and well-being of an employee. The adverse effects of COVID-19 are well documented. Once infected, an individual could experience severe respiratory problems – in some cases, the coronavirus is fatal.
For an employer to be held negligent under the “General Duty Clause,” our attorneys would have to demonstrate that there were reasonable and feasible means to correct or mitigate the hazard. The recommendations published by OSHA and the CDC list steps Philadelphia businesses could take to lower the risk of infection in the workplace. When an employer purposefully fails to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees, their lack of action could constitute negligence. If that negligence results in physical harm, the employer could be held accountable.
Establishing an employer was negligent requires showing four elements. First, the employer must have owed the employee a duty of care. The “General Duty Clause” imposes a legal duty on a Philadelphia business to provide a safe work environment.
Next, our attorneys must demonstrate that the employer breached the duty. Here our attorneys will turn to the CDC and OSHA recommendations. If your employer willfully refused to implement any or all of the guidelines, their actions not only failed to mitigate the chance of infection, but they also potentially increased the risk.
The final two elements to establish negligence are that the breach of duty caused the injury and that the injury resulted in actual damages. The latter is not difficult to demonstrate if you suffered severe medical complications due to contracting COVID-19. By showing that your employer failed to take reasonable precautions, our seasoned attorneys will hope to prove that the breach caused the harm.
Call our Philadelphia Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dangerous Work Conditions for a Free Consultation
The coronavirus is going to continue to impact the nation. It is also going to raise many legal questions and issues. Our Philadelphia attorney for work injuries caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) dangerous work conditions have represented workers injured on the job for over three decades. Our lawyers have the depth of knowledge, experience, and resources to help workers fight for their rights during these uncertain times and are prepared to meet the challenge. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to contracting COVID-19 in the workplace, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free appointment to review your rights.