COVID-19: Helpful Workers’ Compensation Resources


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As we all continue to navigate through COVID-19, staying up to date on regularly changing guidelines and disease information can be a challenge. We are here to help! We continue to update our COVID-19 resources page as information unfolds that may impact workplace safety and workers’ comp.

 

COVID-19 work comp communications

Click the arrow below to see all of the communications that have been shared with policyholders since the pandemic began in early 2020.


Keeping your workers safe

Worker safety is a top priority during this difficult time. Our Risk Management team developed 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.

Four-part webinar series: 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 four-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 COVID-19 resources

As our policyholder, you have free access to our HR OnDemand services. See this helpful resource for employee guides, communications and law alerts.

Login to HR OnDemand to get all COVID-19 resources

To get the full benefit of HR OnDemand‘s Coronavirus resources, login to find Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Employee vaccinations guide, Sample Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy (FFCRA Paid Sick Leave), Return to work checklist, Remote work guide, and more!

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.



ICW Group talks Return to the Workplace
ICW Group talks to Risk Management Monitor about the safe return to the workplace
ICW Group’s VP, Risk Management Rick Fineman talks about returning employees to the workplace. See articles below.

ICW Group Talks Return to the Workplace

Q&A: It’s Never Too Late To Plan


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.

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 OSHA Enforcement Memo and the OSHA COVID-19 website for more information.

Is our Respiratory Protection plan designed to help prevent our employees from getting COVID-19?

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 a written remote work policy that communicates the company’s policies and procedures with respect to working from home.
  2. Establish definitive start and end times for the workday.
  3. Maintain regular communication with your direct staff.
  4. During this crisis, ask employees how they are faring, both professionally and personally.
  5. 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.*

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 you believe 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 your employee believes 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

Is ICW Group delaying final audits?
Final audits are not being delayed and will continue to be conducted after the policy expiration. During the shelter-in-place orders, we conducted 100% of the final audits virtually. We will continue with virtual audits, but we also are back out in the field to meet with our customers in person to conduct the audit when it is safe to do so.

How do I report my monthly payroll if I have employees I’m paying, but they aren’t working?
For all amounts being paid through payroll AND the employee is not working at all — do not report that payroll monthly. Since the employee is not working during Covid-19, there is no premium charge for them.

At final audit, however it is very important to have all of these employees/dates/times/dollar amounts documented. The auditor will ask to see your documentation on the employees in question, and the time frame. For the audit we do have to report to the state regulatory bureaus the amount of “furloughed” or “paid but not working” payroll.

What about reporting and documentation if my employees work part time, but I am making up the difference to pay them full salary?
In some states (CA for example) you are able to report exclude a portion of the employee’s salary if you are making up the difference AND they aren’t working during that specific portion. Other states do not allow this. Our auditors will be looking for documentation that is clear and concise as to who, when (including the time of day), and how much. If it is documented well, the auditor will exclude, when possible, according to each state’s statutes and regulations.
I have employees that normally work in our manufacturing plant but are now working from home doing different projects online. Can I start reporting their payroll under 8810 – Clerical Office Employees?
Yes – you can report them under 8810 – Clerical Office, however, it is important to note that you can’t report them in clerical one week, back to manufacturing the next week, and back to clerical. They can only switch jobs to clerical one time during the policy period. (This applies to all industries, not just manufacturing).

As with everything else, it is important that this is documented thoroughly in your records.

What if I am contacted to send in my records for a virtual audit, but I want an auditor to come out?
In most cases this can be done. We still would prefer getting your records ahead of time so that when visiting your place of business we will be able to work with you on any additional information that we need, or any questions that come up. If you would like an auditor to visit you, please contact us at 858-350-7399.

 

If you have any questions on anything related to the payroll reporting or audit, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: 858-350-7399 or at premiumaudit@icwgroup.com.

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.