According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of infection from the coronavirus is currently low, even for most workers. However, as an employer you may face questions and concerns, which we want you to feel prepared to address.
In this article you’ll find information on safety and prevention, workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19, and more. For a concise guide, view our FAQ on workers’ compensation and coronavirus, also available in Spanish.
Protecting workers from coronavirus
To share prevention information with workers or leaders, you can print our handout on coronavirus basics and controls, also available in Spanish. The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) also provides extensive control and prevention information to offer guidance for minimizing exposure among workers with risk, but general prevention for employers and businesses includes:
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.
- Advise employees who are traveling to check the CDC’s travel guide.
Workers with an increased exposure risk include those involved in:
- Health care (including pre-hospital and medical transport workers, health care providers, clinical laboratory personnel and support staff)
- Death care (including coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors)
- Airline operations
- Waste management
- Travel to areas where the virus is spreading
OSHA states that “OSHA standards, including those for personal protective equipment and respiratory protection require employers to assess the hazards to which their workers may be exposed. In assessing potential hazards, employers should consider whether or not their workers may encounter someone infected with COVID-19 in the course of their duties. Employers should also determine if workers could be exposed to environments (e.g., worksites) or materials (e.g., laboratory samples, waste) contaminated with the virus.”
Workers’ compensation claims and coronavirus
Certain types of employment or circumstances specific to your business may carry a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure than others. If an employee is believed to have coronavirus, take all necessary health and safety precautions, and if you suspect the COVID-19 exposure is work related, report the claim to Texas Mutual immediately. Texas Mutual will investigate each COVID-19 claim on a case-by-case basis. Our team of claim specialists will investigate the facts of each case and evaluate whether an employee’s illness related to COVID-19 occurred during the course and scope of employment. As with any claimed occupational disease, the medical evidence will be important to the compensability determination. For more detailed information about what to do if you suspect an employee has been exposed, read our FAQ.
If you must require your employees to work from home and an injury happens in their home environment, we will investigate and evaluate it just as we would a claim in the workplace.
For more information on coronavirus and protecting your business:
- Texas Mutual coronavirus FAQ
- Preguntas frecuentes de Texas Mutual sobre el coronavirus
- Texas Mutual prevention handout
- Texas Mutual hoja informativa de prevención
- OSHA information for employers and workers
- CDC guidance for businesses
- World Health Organization up-to-date information
Source: Texas Mutual - https://www.texasmutual.com/bl...