Both employers and workers face new challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses now have additional obligations to keep their customers and employees safe, and employees have a responsibility to adhere to safety standards. Because each industry presents its own unique issues and safety requirements are often changing, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities.
At Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman, our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys care about the well-being of our fellow community members. We’re committed to following the most current federal, state, and local regulations surrounding COVID reopening in New Jersey and helping those who have been harmed due to no fault of their own.
Businesses’ Duty of Care to Provide A Safe Workplace
Both OSHA and the CDC have issued guidance to companies on how to safely reopen and implement safety measures in the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, these protocols differ from one industry to another. Regardless, employers still have a duty of care to stay up to date and provide a safe workplace for their employees.
All businesses are required to follow state and local guidelines for COVID-19 safety. Employers have a duty to provide as safe an environment as possible for both staff and customers. This includes enforcing specific rules that are designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and proper sanitizing of the premises. Whether you are an employee, customer, independent contractor, or other visitors, if you become ill or lose a loved one due to a business owner’s failure to provide a safe environment, you may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim or wrongful death action against them.
COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policies and Procedures
Adherence to public health guidance issued by OSHA, the CDC, and state and local governments is critical for businesses to operate safely.
Although protocols differ depending on the type of business, there are a few general measures that can be taken, such as:
- Allowing employees to work from home if possible
- Physical distancing of six feet or more
- Avoiding large meetings or gatherings
- Use of PPE, such as N-95 masks, face shields, and gloves
- Alternating shifts to limit the number of employees on the premises
- Installing plexiglass shields for those who work with the public, such as supermarket cashiers
- Flexible sick leave policies
- Permitting employees to stay home and care for a sick family member
- Requiring employees to self-quarantine if they are exposed to or contract the virus
- Instituting a training program to educate employees on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Posting signs about proper handwashing and hygiene
- Implementing deep cleaning and sanitizing practices
What To Do If Your Employer Doesn’t Follow Safety Protocols
Some business owners are resistant to making these changes because they don’t want to spend the money or put in the effort, but they have a legal duty to keep their premises safe. If a business fails to follow safety guidelines or mandates, it’s essential to speak up and keep yourself, your family, coworkers, and the community healthy. You may want to contact the proper local and state authorities if a business refuses to implement or enforce appropriate safety protocols. Violations can be reported to OSHA anonymously.
Why You Should Contact An Attorney
Proving where you contracted COVID-19 is challenging, as there could be many other places you may have been exposed to it. That’s why it’s critical to contact an attorney who understands how to use relevant evidence to make the connections that may prove your claim. Document conditions and collect as much evidence as you can. Take photos, talk with other employees about their experiences, and save all correspondence such as emails, memos, and other documentation. If you see a doctor or receive care at a hospital, make sure to keep all medical records, bills, and receipts. This evidence is crucial if you decide to bring a clampdown the road.
If you believe you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 at work or at a business, call an attorney. A personal injury lawyer or workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on what actions to take to hold a negligent business responsible for their carelessness and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact A Jersey City Lawyer to Learn More About COVID Reopening & Workplace Safety
Our team at Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman wishes you and your family good health during these challenging times. Our team is available and ready to serve clients in Jersey City, Newfoundland, Vernon, Jefferson, Kinnelon, and throughout the state of New Jersey.
You can also contact us online or call us at 201-798-2711 in Jersey City or 973-874-0556 in Newfoundland to schedule a consultation or ask questions. Se hablaEspañol.