Coronavirus (COVID-19): Helpful Workers’ Compensation Resources


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The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe has us all concerned, particularly in the area of workers’ compensation. Employers, just like you, are currently confronting difficult questions regarding how to handle safety and health, leave and accommodation, claims and other employment issues.

To assist you, we’ve gathered information on this resource page to help you prepare for this spreading virus.

 

Coronavirus work comp communications

Rest assured we’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully and have taken careful measures to ensure our team continues to be available for you, even as business conditions change. We have experts distributed across time zones, ensuring there is no single point of failure in our ability to serve you. Also, our Team Members are set up to work remotely – you’ll experience no disruption in workers’ compensation coverage and support during this extended period of time.

 

Keeping your workers safe

Worker safety is a top priority during this difficult time. Our Risk Management team is developing useful resources to help your employees stay safe and injury free, including checklists, references, plans and webinars.

Returning your employees to the workplace

As you reopen your workplace, we want everyone to be and feel safe. To assist in your efforts, we’ve compiled helpful resources to make things easier, including our step-by-step Return to the Workplace Toolkit.

On-demand webinars: Returning to the Workplace During COVID-19

As you start to return your employees to work, navigating the impacts of COVID-19 will undoubtedly be a challenge. To help guide you with best practices to keep your employees safe, we’ve provided a three-part Safety Webinar Series.

Webinar: Returning to the workplace during COVID-19

 

On-demand webinar: Ergonomics for remote workers

Many of you who have employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. View and share this on-demand webinar. You’ll find sensible tips and practical guidance to improve home office ergonomics. Also, check out all of the included “At Home Edition” ergo materials!

Watch the That Feels Better: Ergonomics for Your Temporary Home Office webinar

 

HR OnDemand Coronavirus resources

As our policyholder, you have free access to our HR OnDemand services. See this helpful resource for employee guides, communications and law alerts. Newly added items include: Guidance from the CDC, OSHA, EEOC and HHS, best practices on how to handle an infectious outbreak, and a sample communication to send to employees.

On-demand webinar: Compliance Matters: Layoffs, Furloughs, and Recalls

Watch and share this informative COVID-19 webinar, offered through HR OnDemand and provided by ThinkHR. Kara Govro, ThinkHR Senior Legal Editor, addresses a topic we found to be top of mind for employers: layoffs, furloughs, and returning employees to work. Also pick up the resources included: The 2020 HR Technology and Benefits Report, COVID-19 Employer Survey and the webinar slides. (No login needed to view!)

ICW Group HR OnDemand COVID-19 Layoffs, Furloughs and Recalls

Previous webinars offered through HR OnDemand

  • HR Guidance and Best Practices – Kara Govro, JD, SPHR and ThinkHR Senior Legal Editor, presents current guidance from the CDC, illness and quarantine issues, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and reducing hours or closing.
  • COVID-19 Regulatory Updates and FAQ Webinar – Kara Govro, JD, SPHR and ThinkHR Senior Legal Editor, addresses legal updates and the most common HR questions related to COVID-19 .

Login to HR OnDemand to get all Coronavirus resources

To get the full benefit of HR OnDemand‘s Coronavirus resources, login to find Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Sample Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy (FFCRA Paid Sick Leave), Telecommuting Agreement, Work From Home Agreement, Acknowledgement of Receipt for Company-issued Property, and more!

ICW Group HR OnDemand Coronavirus Resources

Need an HR question answered now?

Of course, if you have an immediate question, just call! The support phone number is available once you login to HR OnDemand. Their team is standing by to answer your questions about how best to manage employer responsibilities and employees’ concerns on various situations related to COVID-19.

Employee Rights (FFCRA or Act) Poster
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) - Employee Rights Poster
Explains paid sick, expanded family and medical leaves.

Download PDF

COVID-19: Return to The Workplace IDPRP Toolkit
COVID-19: Return to The Workplace Toolkit
Create your own Infectious Disease Preparedness & Response Plan (IDPRP).

Helpful FAQs on workers’ comp and Coronavirus

Workplace safety FAQs

These FAQs have been compiled by our risk management team to help keep your workplace safe. Updated 3/27/20

If my employee contracts Coronavirus at work is it OSHA recordable?
Per OSHA guidelines, if an employee contracts Coronavirus (COVID-19) through direct interoffice contact or in the course and scope of their work duties, the employer should document this as a “Recordable Illness” on their current year’s OSHA 300 log.

Please refer to the following link to the OSHA COVID-19 website for the most current information: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/.

Is our Respiratory Protection plan designed to help prevent our employees from getting sick?

Yes, if it aligns with the following:

  • Your respiratory protection plan is up-to-date and follows the manufacturer guidelines and OSHA 1910.134 standards at all times.
  • Your plan includes that proper medical evaluations occur prior to any employee being allowed to use respiratory protection, sufficient cleaning and storage of respirators procedures are followed, proper fit testing occurs, cartridges are changed frequently or as needed, and damaged or worn respiratory equipment is replaced. Employees should not be allowed to share respiratory protection devices.
  • Please refer to the OSHA link: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134.
Should we buy N95 filtered face pieces (masks) for everyone in our workplace?
Due to the extreme demand for N95 and similar masks, we advise following the CDC guidelines listed in the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirators-strategy/index.html.

What can a healthcare organization do to lessen potential exposure by employees and patients?
Like most safety related corrective actions, it’s best to start with Engineering controls (outlined in the link below) to eliminate the problem whenever possible. If Engineering controls can’t eliminate or control the concern, then Administrative / Managerial controls (also outlined below) should be implemented to limit individual exposures or change behaviors contributing to the risk. When these measures are not feasible or easily implemented, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used as part of the suite of strategies to protect personnel from exposure.

The following CDC link provides practical strategies for Healthcare Facilities relating to COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/checklist-n95-strategy.html.

Can we protect ourselves from off-the-clock injuries when employees are working remotely?
Yes. There are several strategies to avoid “off-the-clock injuries” when employees work from home. An employee / employer relationship that fosters open communication is foundational to all. Consider the following approaches to reduce risk:

  1. Establish definitive start and end times for the workday.
  2. Maintain regular communication with your direct staff.
  3. During this crisis, ask employees how they are faring, both professionally and personally.
  4. Keep detailed records of conversations surrounding assigned work activities and times.

Workers’ compensation claims FAQs

Our dedicated team of highly trained claim specialists is working hard to provide you with accurate information specific to your claims needs as it relates to COVID-19. These FAQs have been compiled to help you gain a handle on workplace-related illnesses and associated claims.* Updated 3/16/20

If my employee may have been exposed to COVID-19 on the job, what should I do?
We suggest you reach out to your designated industrial clinic or medical provider to determine if the exposure warrants a medical examination or testing. They should be able to guide you on the correct actions to take.

Is disease from coronavirus covered by workers’ compensation?
Common diseases like colds and flu are not covered. In order for a Coronavirus claim to be covered by work comp, there has to be a need for medical treatment, proper diagnosis and a direct link to employment. All potential sources of exposure must be evaluated. Each claim will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our team of highly trained claim specialists dedicated to handling all claims involving COVID-19.

Should I report a COVID-19 claim to my workers’ compensation carrier?
If your employee has contracted the Coronavirus and the exposure occurred in the course and scope of employment, you should report the claim. We have a team of highly trained claim specialists dedicated to handling all claims we may receive involving COVID-19. We’ll investigate claims on a case-by-case basis to determine if workers’ compensation benefits are due.

Should we take preventative measures to minimize the risk of exposure for my employees?
Yes. The CDC’s website has many recommendations to help minimize the risk of exposure. We also offer HR OnDemand to all our policyholders, which is a great resource to answer employment-related questions.

If our employee with work-related COVID-19 illness infects their family, does work comp cover family member’s medical bills?
No. Workers’ compensation only covers employees for injuries or illness that are deemed work-related. Family members are not covered. The employee’s medical provider should inform them on how to minimize the risk of infecting others and appropriate quarantine requirements. The CDC.gov website contains recommendations, guidelines and additional information.

What do we do if an employee wants to make a workers’ compensation claim for COVID-19?
Immediately report all claims you suspect may be work-related. Each claim will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our team of highly trained claim specialists dedicated to handling all claims involving COVID-19.

* Please note: Determining compensability of claims during this pandemic requires specific facts, review of rules and regulations applicable in each jurisdiction, and state directives ordered at the time of alleged injury. These details are thoroughly reviewed by our claim experts to ensure you get the response that addresses your immediate concerns. Please contact us directly at 855.442.9252 for questions specific to claims or for guidance on handling potential scenarios.

Premium Audit FAQs

Updated 3/27/20

Is ICW Group delaying final audits?
No. Final audits continue to be conducted after the policy expiration date. To align with shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines, we’re conducting all audits virtually. An auditor will contact you to identify the records needed and explain how to get them to us securely. We hope to make this as streamlined and easy for you as possible, while keeping everyone safe!

Additional links to resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) continues to issue guidance to employers, community groups and families based on the current state of COVID-19.