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IL injury lawyerCOVID-19 has impacted people all over the world, physically and economically. Although a vaccine is being distributed nationwide, the coronavirus will likely impact the way we live going forward. Studies show that COVID-19 “long-haulers” are individuals who tested positive for the virus and recovered but who have ongoing or long-lasting effects from it. These symptoms can include hair loss, fatigue, chronic cough, brain fog, to name a few. In response to the widespread impact of coronavirus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a set of guidelines for employers to follow in the fight against COVID-related illnesses. It is crucial for Illinois employers and employees alike to understand how these rules may affect workers’ compensation claims in the future.

Workplace Exposures to COVID-19

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide each employee with work and a place of employment that is free from hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or significant physical harm. According to OSHA record-keeping mandates, eligible employers must record certain work-related illnesses and injuries on their OSHA log. COVID-19 can count as one of those illnesses if an employee contracts the virus as a result of performing their work-related tasks. It is important to note that employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following factors are met regarding an employee:

  • There is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • The case is work-related.
  • The case involves one or more of the recording criteria (medical treatment above and beyond first aid, days absent from work).

OSHA requirements are aimed at preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. A few of the main standards involve personal protective equipment (PPE), which require using gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection when certain occupational duties or hazards warrant it. If the line of work necessitates that respirators be worn to protect workers, employers must implement a thorough respiratory protection program that adheres to the Respiratory Protection standard.

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IL injury lawyerMost workers know that if they get injured on the job they are entitled to workers’ compensation. What some people may not know is that they are also eligible to receive compensation if they develop an occupational disease or ailment from continuous employment. Exposure to things like chemicals, dust, fumes, mold, or radiation can cause permanent and often irreversible damage to a person. The process to prove these types of cases can be tedious, but it does not have to be difficult with the right person’s help.

What Types of Diseases Are Covered?

The Illinois Occupational Diseases Act does not specifically list the types of diseases and ailments that are covered under the act. The act states that any employee who sustains any disablement, impairment or disfigurement or dies due to a disease that arises from their employment, is eligible for benefits. This means that any type of disease that is caused by employment is eligible for consideration under this act. Common types of diseases can include:

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Illinois injury lawyerHead injuries are one of the most serious types of injuries a person can experience, and unfortunately, head injuries at the workplace are not uncommon. If your head injury is caused by a misplaced object, poorly maintained work environment, or by another worker, it may have been preventable.

How Head Injuries Occur

Head injuries commonly occur in the workplace from the following causes:

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Illinois injury lawyerWhen workers are injured or become ill it is not uncommon for them to take advantage of disability leave time in order to mend and heal. However, in some cases, an employee is able to work while undergoing treatment for an illness or accept a light-duty role. In such scenarios, it is important to ensure employers are making reasonable accommodations despite one’s inability to perform their job at the same level as prior to the injury or illness.

Suburban Police Officer Battling Cancer and Employer

In one case, a suburban police officer is claiming his municipal employer is guilty of violating the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated a light-duty assignment he was performing while undergoing and recovering from treatments for cancer:

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