Employers can be held liable for failing to follow safety protocols that reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.
As case counts continue to climb, there is ongoing concern about ways people can protect themselves against COVID-19. School and business closures early in the pandemic helped to reduce the risks. Now that most places have reopened, employers have an obligation to ensure the safety of their employees. As experienced Tulsa, OK employment law attorneys, we want you to be aware of your rights in this situation and the guidelines that must be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.
Your Right to a Safe Working Environment
Employers are expected to maintain the safety of the workplace and to protect workers against potential hazards that may exist. The Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) requires businesses to post notices regarding their obligations to maintain safety and the rights employees have in being protected. These rights include:
- The right to be informed of potential dangers.
- The right to protective equipment when working in potentially hazardous areas.
- The right to regular workplace safety inspections and to see the results.
- The right to file a complaint if employers fail to take required precautions, without fear of reprisals.
These rights are important for workers in a variety of job fields. They are particularly relevant now with the ongoing situation involving COVID-19. While some who contract the illness experience only minor symptoms, in other cases, it can prove potentially life-threatening. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, there are nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the state, and it has claimed the lives of close to 450 people since the start of the pandemic.
Steps Your Employer Needs to Take to Protect You Against COVID-19
COVID-19 can spread quickly through respiratory droplets in the air and through contaminated surfaces. Unfortunately, people can be carriers without exhibiting any outward signs or symptoms, which is why social distancing is important. In terms of the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to follow these guidelines:
- Make sure that workstations are spaced at least six feet apart to reduce the risk of transmission;
- Provide sneeze guards for those who have frequent close contact with the public or other employees;
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed, which may include face masks, face shields, N95 respirators, and gloves;
- Put proper cleaning practices in place, including sanitizing of surfaces on a regular basis;
- Provide communications regarding testing for the virus and reporting requirements;
- Provide procedures to follow, including quarantines and suspension of business activities on a temporary basis, in the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Contact Our Tulsa, OK Employment Law Attorneys
At BDIW Law, we hold employers responsible for failing to take the actions needed to protect their employees. To discuss your rights in filing a claim, call 918-728-6500 or contact our Tulsa, OK employment law attorneys online today and request a consultation.