Montgomery County Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Coronavirus Dangerous Work Conditions
Many people in Montgomery County (Montco) are working remotely or have been furloughed due to the “stay-at-home” order issued to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. However, some essential workers are going to their workplace daily during the pandemic. They might be worried or concerned about their health and safety.
Employers should try to ensure that their workplaces are as safe as possible during this uncertain time. If they fail to take precautions or implement policies to reduce the risk of spreading the infection, they could endanger their employees. Unfortunately, the law is unclear as to holding employers liable for work injuries or death due to COVID-19. If you have contracted the virus in your workplace, you need the representation of our Montgomery County, PA attorney for work injuries caused by coronavirus dangerous work conditions. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for a free, confidential consultation to review your options.
Occupational Safety and Health Act, COVID-19, and Montgomery County Employers
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) works to ensure that employees throughout the United States and Montgomery County have a safe work environment. By setting national safety rules and regulations, public outreach, and safety training, OSHA provides a set of standards for businesses. Because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus, OSHA has issued a number of guidelines to assist employers in dealing with the pandemic.
To contend with the unprecedented and rapid spread of the virus, OSHA’s recommendations were released without the full legal enforceability of previous safety standards. For a worker suffering from a COVID-19 related work injury, the ambiguousness of the enforceability of the recommended guidelines creates a legal challenge in a personal injury claim. However, OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” remains in full effect.
Montgomery County Employers and OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1
Under the “General Duty Clause,” Montco workers are entitled to a work environment that is free from recognized dangers. OSHA has developed many safety standards that Montgomery County employers must follow. It is practically impossible to anticipate and issue a standard for every possible workplace hazard. As a catch-all provision, OSHA issued the “General Duty Clause,” which requires Montgomery County employers to provide employees a workplace free of hazards that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death.
COVID-19 Violations of the “General Duty Clause” in Montgomery County Work Environments
Combining the published OSHA guidelines related to the coronavirus and the “General Duty Clause,” it might be possible to hold an employer to a legal standard conduct. In addition to the OSHA guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered recommendations to mitigate the threat of infection in the workplace. By using the guidelines along with the “General Duty Clause,” our experienced attorneys have worked to develop a framework of actions an employer should take to avoid violations.
- Employers should ensure that their employees have access to adequate training on how the coronavirus spreads and what steps they could take to mitigate the risk of infection. This includes recognizing symptoms in employees.
- Companies should institute protocols to follow in the case of infection, including how to safely and effectively restrict contact with an infected employee.
- The work environment should be configured to allow employees to socially distance while working. If this is not possible, then precautions should be implemented to reduce contact between employees, such as plastic screens.
- Employees should have adequate access to wash stations and cleansing products. These wash stations should be positioned throughout the workplace and in a number to accommodate all employees.
- Employees should have a supply of safety equipment, including gloves, masks, and whatever is reasonable under the work conditions.
- Montgomery County businesses should ensure that the workplace is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
Holding Montgomery County Employees Responsible for COVID-19 Work-Related Injuries
Liability law for workplace injuries related to COVID-19 remains uncertain. However, if a Montco employee purposefully places their employees into a dangerous work environment by ignoring OSHA and CDC recommendations, it might be possible to hold them responsible for a “General Duty Clause” violation. The dedicated lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm have been diligently reviewing the existing law while monitoring all recent legal developments related to the pandemic.
Across the county, COVID-19 is challenging current legal principles associated with employer liability and workplace injuries. Recent litigation has focused directly on the “willful and wanton” action of an employer failing to mitigate or adhere to OSHA and CDC recommendations to the detriment of their employees. The coronavirus has been recognized as a known hazard and there are feasible precautions an employer can take to protect their employees. A “General Duty Clause” violation could provide the basis of a negligence claim if your employer purposefully ignored possible precautions. Our seasoned Montgomery County attorneys will thoroughly review the conditions present in your workplace to try and work to show that your employer failed to meet his duty under OSHA 29 U.S.C. Section 654, 5(a)1.
Call Our Montgomery County Attorney for Work Injuries Caused by Coronavirus Dangerous Work Conditions for a Free Consultation
OSHA has issued legal safety standards to ensure workers have a safe work environment. The spread of COVID-19 throughout Montgomery County has created potentially dangerous working conditions for employees. Because the law is unclear during this unprecedented time, you need the representation of our knowledgeable attorneys to carefully build the foundation of your legal claim. If you are suffering from the effects of COVID-19 contracted while working, contact our Montgomery County attorney for work injuries caused by coronavirus dangerous work conditions to review your legal rights and options. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation.