Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Workplace Safety Issues

Categories: Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law. | March 26, 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published guidance on preparing workplaces for Coronavirus (COVID-19), outlining steps employers can take to help protect their workforce. OSHA has divided workplaces and work operations into 4 risk zones – these risk zones are useful in determining appropriate work practices and precautions.

1. Very High Exposure Risk

• Healthcare workers (e.g., doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians) performing aerosol-generating procedures (e.g., intubation, cough induction procedures, bronchoscopies, some dental procedures and exams, or invasive specimen collection) on known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

• Healthcare or laboratory personnel collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients (e.g., manipulating cultures from known or suspected COVID-19 patients).

2. High Exposure Risk

• Healthcare delivery and support staff (e.g., doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who must enter patients’ rooms) exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients. (Note: when such workers perform aerosol-generating procedures, their exposure risk level becomes very high.)

• Medical transport workers (e.g., ambulance vehicle operators) moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients in enclosed vehicles.

3. Medium Exposure Risk

• Employees with high-frequency contact with the general population (e.g., in schools, high-population-density work environments, and some high-volume retail settings).

4. Lower Exposure Risk
• Employees who have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.

Is coronavirus covered by workers’ compensation?

The answer to the question “is coronavirus covered by workers’ compensation?” is yes and no. Workers’ compensation won’t cover many coronavirus claims unless the exposure was a direct result of work. Other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Are you entitled to Workers’ Compensation for Coronavirus?

With over 60 years of combined legal experience, the KBG law firm is a leader in the field of workers’ compensation law and we have earned the reputation as aggressive advocates for injured workers before the IWCC. Call us at (312) 726-5567 for a free consultation or contact us online.