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The U.S. Department of Labor released guidance Thursday detailing strategies on implementing social distancing in the workplace. The agency also issued new procedures to make it easier for federal workers in high-risk industries to obtain workers compensation for COVID-19.
The social distancing guidance, created by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, urges employers to isolate workers showing symptoms of coronavirus until they can go home or seek medical care, establish flexible worksites and work hours, stagger breaks and rearrange seating in common areas to maintain social distance, mark social distancing with floor tape where customers are present and reposition work stations and install plastic partitions to create more distance.
DOL also noted it will accept COVID-19 workers compensation claims from federal employees who work as front-line medical personnel, first responders and law enforcement officers if their illness was proximately caused by the nature of their work.
The DOL’s Office of Workers Compensation Programs noted that federal workers in those positions are more likely to be in contact with “sneezes, droplet infection, bodily secretions and surfaces on which the COVID-19 virus may reside.”
Workers in those positions who file a workers compensation claim for COVID-19 will still need to provide medical evidence that their COVID-19 diagnosis was “aggravated, accelerated, precipitated or directly caused” by their work-related activities as well as a COVID-19 positive test result.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
My late mother was a young child when she was evacuated from London during World War II to live in Bedfordshire for a period of time with a family she didn’t know. Her brothers were sent elsewhere. There was no Internet, no FaceTime, no Skype — just social distancing in its truest form.