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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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