Tag Archives: work illness

Coronavirus protection plan in the workplace :: Employer’s responsibility?

New York – Many people are concerned about their own health as well as that of the people around them during this coronavirus outbreak. A common question that comes up is, what is the responsibility of the employer during these perilous times? Can an employer require workers to come in to work? Should they? Some jobs are vital for society and the well being of everyone. However, other jobs are less so and this should be taken into consideration by a boss. The driving force in decision making should involve the health and well being of employees and customers, and not just money. Workers should be encouraged to work from home or at off times when the office or workplace is relatively empty. In addition, the workplace should be kept clean and disinfected on a very regular basis to avoid getting workers and customers sick. A central thought of employers during this time must be to prevent a work illness or work injury. This may mean that a company will need to work on setting up the employee with adequate work-at-home accommodations and allowances as needed. Employers and companies should ensure a safer environment by also sending home any worker who shows any signs of illness, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. The concept is similar to the requirement on employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment in general. For example, good lighting in an office or warehouse to prevent a trip and fall; proper safety equipment on a dangerous construction site; or constant diligence to avoid broken equipment from improper maintenance. In addition, employers should make reasonable efforts to educate their workers and staff on how to protect themselves at work. Systems should be set up by managers and bosses to prevent clumping of customers and workers to prevent spread of the disease. Clear signs and instructions as well as any necessary personal protection equipment and safe cleaning supplies should be made available to staff and customers to prevent a dangerous situation. You can see this article for more guidance on how to prevent getting sick from COVID-19 in the workplace.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Senado Federal [License]

Government may require companies to disclose workplace injury and illness info

The federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently trying to force large employers to report work-associated illnesses and on-the-job injuries in a new format. This would include digital reporting of the work accidents and diseases so that the information can be published online. Mandatory reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses is not new, rather it’s the goal of publicly posting this information on the internet that is new. At this time, only employers with more than 250 workers would be required to comply with this new safety campaign. Experienced workers comp lawyers in New York applaud this proposal, saying that it can provide employees with the essential knowledge of their boss’ safety record. This empowers the worker to demand better safety compliance and the possibility of protecting themselves from hazardous conditions at work. Some employees or even the general public may even choose to avoid working with a company with an extensive list of workplace accidents. Consumers may also discover that their own safety may be at risk when hiring a company prone to injuries or illness. The accident database could provide the average citizen and worker with the details they need and deserve to know, in order to protect themselves from corporations that sometimes are negligent when it comes to safety regulations. Job accidents can vary from a worker that falls from scaffolding or a ladder to a machine operator who’s hand gets crushed in the machine. Job-associated illnesses can include lung diseases such as asthma, COPD or pulmonary edema; cancers, like squamous cell carcinoma; musculoskeletal problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome; and chemical exposure at work, such as lead or gasses. This type of required reporting and posting of work-related illness and injury is also expected to prevent dangerous companies from denying a problem. Accountability and safety are expected to improve, according to public safety activists. See this article for more about the proposed injury and illness database.

Photo by U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons