Bucks County Attorney for Deaths Caused by COVID-19 Workplace Negligence
Businesses across Bucks County have been adversely affected by the current pandemic. Many have been forced to shut their doors to comply with the “stay-at-home” order. Others that are considered essential have remained open despite of the fear of spreading the infection. The coronavirus has resulted in thousands of deaths in the country. Any employee that is in contact with other workers or the public is liable to contract the infection. When the risk of infection in the workplace is increased by the willful and purposeful conduct of an employer, they might be held responsible for any injuries or fatalities.
Every worker in Bucks County should have some assurance that they will come home from work in a healthy condition. The coronavirus is deadly, and every employer should be doing everything feasible to protect their employees from infection. If a loved one contracted COVID-19 in the workplace and died due to complications of the virus, you need an experienced Bucks County attorney for deaths caused by COVID-19 workplace negligence. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free, confidential consultation to review your options.
Bucks County Workers Right to a Safe Work Environment
Nearly every employer in Bucks County is required to adhere to the safety standards developed and published by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA is a government agency tasked with ensuring workers are provided with a safe workplace. In response to the growing safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, OSHA has rapidly issued additional guidelines and recommendations for employers to follow in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. However, the current recommendations specifically related to the coronavirus lack the legal enforceability of previously issued safety standards. The lack of enforceability presents a legal challenge to any worker that suffered or died due to a coronavirus infection contracted in the workplace.
The “General Duty Clause” and Bucks County Employers
While OSHA has attempted to address many of the potential hazards present in the workplace, many existing dangers do not have applicable standards. To cover the issues that were not specifically addressed, there is OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1. Known as the “General Duty Clause,” this catch-all provision requires employers to provide their employees with a work environment that is free of any recognizable hazard that could cause serious bodily harm or death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized COVID-19 as a known hazard and has also released a set of recommendations to limit the risk of infection. Therefore, a legal argument exists that the “General Duty Clause” applies to the coronavirus as well as other known hazards. Our knowledgeable lawyers believe that Bucks County employers are bound by the “General Duty Clause” to implement safety measures and protocols to protect their employees from infection.
Negligent Violations by Bucks County Employees
When an employer purposefully or willfully ignores an OSHA safety standard, their conduct could constitute negligence towards their employees. The “General Duty Clause” remains enforceable during the pandemic. By combining the guidelines and recommendations of both OSHA and the CDC, our Bucks County attorneys believe it is possible to produce a framework of actions that employers should take to comply with the “General Duty Clause.”
- Employers should supply their employees with adequate training and information on how COVID-19 is contracted and how it spreads. Additionally, the employees need accurate procedures to mitigate the risk of infection in the workplace.
- Procedures should be in place to address an infected employee. This includes giving managers and other employees the tools to recognize symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Social distancing is a vital tactic in combating the spread of COVID-19. The workplace must allow employees the ability to work productively while maintaining a safe distance from one another.
- Mitigating the risk of infection requires the proper and regular washing of hands. Employers need to have an adequate number of wash stations stocked and available to their employees.
- Additional safety equipment, including masks and gloves, should be provided. This is especially important if the employees are unable to maintain a distance of six feet or are required to interact with the general public.
- The workplace should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
If a Bucks County employer fails to take reasonable precautions to protect their employees from the coronavirus, their conduct might give rise to a personal injury or wrongful death claim if an employee becomes infected.
Liability for COVID-19 Deaths due to Workplace Negligence
Because the coronavirus is a new development, the law surrounding workplace injuries or wrongful death is uncertain. The first wrongful death lawsuit has been recently filed. The complaint alleges that the company “willfully and wantonly” neglected to protect its employees from COVID-19. More specifically, the claim states that employees were not provided adequate protection, that the workplace was not regularly cleaned, and that the employees were not advised of the extent of the risks they faced.
The coronavirus presents a recognized hazard to all Bucks County employees. While the law remains unclear, the precautions an employer could take are well defined. The “General Duty Clause” is enforceable and it might be possible to hold an employer negligent if they fail to take reasonable and feasible steps to protect their workers. At the Reiff Law Firm, our attorneys are studying the existing case law and keeping a close eye on all ongoing litigation surrounding wrongful deaths and injuries directly attributable to the coronavirus in the workplace.
Call Our Bucks County Attorney for Deaths Caused by COVID 19 Workplace Negligence for a Free Consultation
Essential workers in Bucks County are risking their lives to provide services to other residents. Their employers have a duty to provide them a safe work environment. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing vigorous representation for families who lost a loved one due to contracting the coronavirus in the workplace. Call our Bucks County attorney for deaths caused by COVID-19 workplace negligence if you believe your family member or loved one died because of their employer’s conduct. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.