Employees Sue Employers Over COVID-19 Safety

As states continue with reopening plans, Coronavirus has not subsided. In fact, in many states, the rate of infection is increasing at an alarming rate. While the CDC provides recommendations on ways to protect yourself and others, not everyone is adhering to the guidance.

In one hard-hit region, Las Vegas, casino workers sued several casinos after reports that many workers fell ill to COVID-19. The lawsuit complains that the casinos did not require workers to wear face masks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, is against the owners of Harrah’s, MGM Grand and Bellagio casinos. It claims the companies continued operations of their food-and-beverage outlets and other areas after learning of positive cases and that it did not inform employees when co-workers tested positive and did not provide adequate contact-trace before allowing colleagues of infected employees to return to the job.

6 Ways to Protect the Health of Your Employees

1. Encourage sick employees to stay home.
Coronavirus spreads from person-to-person very easily. If an employee becomes sick, whether from COVID-19 or not, it is best to have the employee stay home. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person while close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. To avoid the risk of spreading the disease to other employees and to customers, it is best practice to have a sick employee stay home and self-quarantine.

2. Develop flexible work schedules and continue work from home, if possible.
Since the virus spreads easily person-to-person and most people who test positive may be asymptomatic (showing no signs of or very mild signs of illness), allowing for flexible work schedules and work from home policies may lessen the physical contact between employees and customers. This act may help slow the spread and keep employees safe while working.

3. Promote proper hygiene and etiquette.
It is suggested that this virus can spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking. Proper hygiene is key to possibly reducing the spread. All employees should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after they have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Promote proper hygiene by having soap and water available for all employees, as well as hand sanitizers and face masks.

4. Perform routine environmental cleaning.
As employees and customers begin to physically interact, proving a safe and clean work environment will be critical to stopping the virus spread. Be sure to routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs. Also, discourage employees from sharing of tools and equipment, if feasible.

5. Utilize Onsite Medical Services.
To help prevent on-the-job injuries, reduce workers’ compensation costs, and ensure occupational health compliance, and avoid OSHA fines, utilizing on-site health and safety services can help to treat injuries quickly can help avoid unnecessary and excessive off-site referrals, treatments, and prescriptions. Minor injuries can be resolved on-site, as well, allowing workers to return to productive work quicker. More serious cases are recognized sooner so they can receive appropriate diagnoses and treatment.

6. Provide access to training and educational material.
Keeping employees informed on the latest safety protocols is good practice. The more your employees know, the better informed they are about the risk of spread and how best to handle the work environment to help keep everyone safe. Have posters and fact sheets available for employees to easily access. Also, encourage employees to take additional training courses. There are numerous online courses available to educate employees on how to protect themselves from the virus.

There is still much we do not know about this virus; these simple steps can help. Implementing them now can help to provide a safer work environment and possibly help to reduce your risk of a business lawsuit or an insurance claim.
In these challenging times, the risk of exposure is more prevalent than ever. We offer two Safety Service Options:

COVID-19 CONSULTING BUNDLE – Written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.

COVID-19 TRAINING (INFECTION CONTROL WEBINAR) – We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.

If you have concerns about your workforce and coronavirus, please contact us today to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your employees.