COVID-19 has forced employers to rethink workplace safety. While precautions have traditionally focused on physical injuries, as employees return to work amid the pandemic, employers must implement new safety measures, according to a recent report.
The report cited statistics from the Bureau of Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, saying COVID must now be added to the list of the most dangerous professional hazards – a list that includes operation of heavy machinery in manufacturing, construction, and industrial shipping jobs.
Workplace incidents, including COVID exposure, can largely be prevented or mitigated if employers perform regular safety assessments. Such assessments should be part of any employer’s occupational safety plan and draw from published technical reports and occupational health software to identify workplace hazards. Additionally, the safety evaluation plans should be updated annually to ensure safety protocols reflect current risk factors. For the time being, measures like interpersonal barriers, personal protective equipment, and additional hygienic supplies will minimize COVID risk to employees.
Employers also need to make sure HR departments have a formal accident reporting policy in place. The policy should include steps for reporting an incident or potential safety hazard, a reporting hierarchy, and repercussions for non-compliance.
If you were injured in a workplace accident you believe was caused by negligence or an OSHA violation, please reach out to us to discuss your legal options.