The number of COVID-19 cases increased at a staggering rate across California in the weeks following the holidays. As many California residents strive to earn a living, employees risk their health and lives each day when attending work. Grocery store workers, medical staff, police officers, and first responders frequently come in contact with the public. The risk of contracting COVID-19 on the job remains high. That's because many people who carry the virus don't experience any immediate symptoms — some don't experience symptoms at all.
Until COVID-19 vaccines become widely available to the public, employees and employers must adhere to strict safety guidelines. If you have contracted COVID-19 on the job, speak to an experienced San Diego workers' compensation lawyer to learn about your eligibility for benefits.
COVID-19 safety guidelines in the workplace
According to a recent workplace safety survey commissioned by Stericycle (a compliance company), nearly a quarter of workers don't receive training on COVID-19 safety guidelines. Stericycle conducted the survey in September of 2020. One thousand U.S. workers took part in it. The survey involved those who worked at physical locations with at least 100 employees and 450 business leaders of organizations with more than 100 employees. The survey revealed concerns about contracting COVID-19 at work:
- 58% of business leaders don't believe they can enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.
- 38% of employees are concerned about co-workers failing to follow safety procedures.
- 79% of employees would look for a new job if COVID-19 safety training wasn't offered by their employers.
- 34% of employees would look for a new job if COVID-19 safety measures weren't taken by their employers.
- 45% of business leaders don't believe that they have proactive safety measures in place.
- 27% of employees said they must provide their own personal protective equipment.
- 24% of employees wouldn't feel safe working with a coworker who wasn't vaccinated.
- 48% of business leaders plan to offer a COVID-19 vaccine.
Getting workers' comp for occupational exposure to COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 to be aware of are fever, dry cough and tiredness. Less common symptoms include body aches, sore throat, diarrhea, headaches, loss of taste and/or smell, chest pain and difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, notify your employer in writing as soon as possible. For your own health and the safety of other employees, you will need to take time off from work. That's even if your symptoms are mild. It generally takes about two weeks to recover from a mild case of COVID-19. It could take longer depending on the severity of the infection or if you have certain medical conditions. Many people suffer from long-term consequences of COVID (also known as "long-haulers").
Make an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible and get an accurate diagnosis. Also, be sure to tell your doctor that you believe you contracted COVID-19 on the job and get documentation of your diagnosis. To pursue a workers' compensation claim, you'll need to ensure that the process is error-free. The attorneys at McLaughlin & Sanchez can help you accurately fill out your workers' compensation form and get the benefits you need to cover medical costs and lost wages.