Construction Law

COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation in Construction featured image

COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation in Construction

It’s no secret that the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has provided a lot of challenges to every type of business, including construction businesses. One area of a business that needs to be addressed this summer is workers’ compensation. With cases surging throughout Florida this June, the potential of experiencing a work-related infection has increased significantly. With the claims frequency seeing an uptick, this pandemic will affect the workers’ compensation system. 

In this brief article, we will discuss the impact COVID-19 is having on workers’ compensation. We will also provide some insight into ways businesses can mitigate some of these issues and how a workers’ compensation defense lawyer in Florida can assist you. As this article is strictly for educational purposes, if you are dealing with a workers’ compensation-related issue, consult the construction attorneys at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. 

Related: Dealing with a Stop Work Order During a Pandemic

Construction Will Be Impacted by COVID-19

Whether it’s an increase in occupational illnesses, raised premiums, or the extra administrative work dealing with workers’ compensation claims, the spread of COVID-19 across the country will only add more challenges to every type of business. This is especially true for construction businesses as these are essential businesses that cannot offer much remote work. Although the total number of workers’ compensation claims could fall during the pandemic for many industries with work-from-home policies, construction should see a significant increase in cases as workers remain on the jobsite. 

Moreover, claims will not be strictly limited to exposure cases. Some other common construction site mishaps that can occur include:

  • Many professionals on a reduced crew can experience overexertion injuries
  • Accidents can stem from untrained or inexperienced workers on the jobsite 
  • Some professionals will rush to meet a deadline and risk injuries
  • Others will get hurt because they are working in an unfamiliar role or setting
  • Some workers that were recently laid off may be motivated to apply for benefits 

Claims Impact Businesses

Whether these claims are valid or not, the end result is that they can impact the bottom line of a business and are an administrative burden. Moreover, the uptick in active claims will overload the workers’ compensation system. After the majority of government agency offices closed in March to stop the spread of the virus, the system began to become backlogged with claims. The end result is that active and pending claims will remain open for much longer before being resolved. With everything from medical clinics to treatment centers closed until recently, the entire healthcare system in general has experienced cancellations and postponements too, so injured employees have also experienced delays in receiving the treatment they need to improve and return to the job. 

What Employers Can Do

Employers may feel overwhelmed by the pandemic in many ways. When it comes to workers’ compensation issues, employers will need to consider ways they can provide as safe a workplace as they can. To minimize claims this summer, comply with public health advice from the CDC; OSHA; and federal, state, and local guidelines. If some workers’ essential functions can be performed from home, employers should consider allowing them to telework. They should adjust company policies accordingly. If you have workers with preexisting conditions, you will need to consider special accommodations for them to protect them from serious illness. Reach out to a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida with any of your legal concerns. Our construction attorneys are here to shield you from potential liability, including COVID-19-related claims against your business.  

If you would like to speak with a workers’ compensation defense lawyer in Florida, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.