COVID-19 Workers' Comp & OSHA

Zurich COVID-I9 Support Hub

  • Teleworking:  While working from home reduces one risk, it heightens others related to cyber security, personal safety, and worker injury.  Several issues need to be considered when setting up employees to work remotely to ensure a clean, safe, and ergonomically sound home/work office environment. The attached Telework Risk Topic outlines many of the exposures and mitigation strategy to consider in keeping workers safe when working remotely.
  • Workstation Ergonomics: Proper workstation set-up is important when working remotely. Risk Engineering has developed guidance in the attached Laptop and Terminal Tips Brochure that contains home office ergonomics suggestions. In addition, we have a free web-based workstation evaluation tool called eZErgo, that allows employees to perform a self-evaluation of their home office setup right on their computer. Here’s a demo for your team (Password: ergo91117).
  •  Remote Collaboration:  Zurich has enacted work-from-home and travel restrictions, but we are still available to assist you with your risk management activities through several of our digital facing options that include FaceTime, calls, email, conferencing tools, photos, and videos. Our Remote Collaboration tool available on the Zurich Risk Advisor Application allows you access to Risk Engineering expertise anywhere at any time. Easy-to-use video streaming technology enables you to collaborate with our Risk Engineers remotely through your mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Workplace Safety

As of now, OSHA has decided that COVID-19 should not be excluded from coverage of the rule – like the common cold or the seasonal flu – and, thus, OSHA is considering it an “illness.”

Only confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be considered an illness under the rule so, if an employee simply comes to work with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (but not a confirmed diagnosis), the recordability analysis would not necessarily be triggered at that time.

OSHA has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.

COVID-19 Tips from OSHA

May 15, 2020 Update:

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Alert to Help Keep Medical/Dental Industry Practitioners Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect medical/dental industry workers from exposure to the coronavirus.

Measures that can help protect dental practitioners include:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if sick;
  • Maximize the use of telemedicine for non-emergency consultations, and prioritize urgent and emergency procedures;
  • Install physical barriers or partitions between patient treatment areas;
  • Provide adequate ventilation and airflow inpatient treatment areas so that air moves away from staff work areas;
  • Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with hospital-grade, Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus;
  • Minimize the number of staff present when aerosol-generating procedures are performed and ensure staff who are present are appropriately protected;
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment, such as eye goggles, face shields and N95 respirators, as necessary to protect medical/dental practitioners and support personnel; and
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Workplace Safety Standards Regarding COVID-19

  • Employers must protect their workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Employers should be aware that common sanitizers and sterilizers can contain hazardous chemicals.
May 15, 2020 Update:

OSHA Guidance for Restaurants and Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup

OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of industry-specific alerts designed to help keep workers safe. If you are in the restaurant or beverage industry and offer takeout or curbside pickup services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following tips can help reduce workers’ risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Avoid direct hand-off, when possible.
  • Display a door or sidewalk sign with the services available (e.g., take-out, curbside), instructions for pickup, and hours of operation.
  • Reserve parking spaces near the front door for curbside pickup only.
  • Train workers in proper hygiene practices and the use of workplace controls.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Practice sensible social distancing by maintaining six feet between co-workers and customers. Mark six-foot distances with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage customers to pay ahead of time by phone or online, temporarily move workstations to create more distance, and install plexiglass partitions, if feasible.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
April 15, 2020 Update: 

OSHA Provides Recordkeeping Guidance to Employers For COVID-19 Cases

Limited Enforcement Waiver

Recognizing the difficulty in determining whether COVID-19 was contracted while on the job, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements that would require employers in areas where there is ongoing community transmission to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where:

  1. There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and
  2. The evidence was reasonably available to the employers.

This waiver of enforcement does not apply to employers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions in areas where there is ongoing community transmission.  These employers must continue to make work-relatedness determinations.