The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in an unprecedented shift away from the traditional workplace, as millions of employees now work from home to minimize the spread of the virus and reduce their chances of contracting it. But what about workers who can’t do their jobs from home, such as doctors, nurses, postal carriers, retail employees, and construction workers? Those individuals must continue to perform their job duties as they did before the pandemic began, thus exposing them to a greater risk of contracting COVID-19. While all essential workers should take steps to protect themselves in high-risk environments, construction workers must take unique precautions. For more information about COVID-19 in the context of the construction industry, please contact a coronavirus Long Island workers comp lawyer.
General Coronavirus Safety Policies and Rules
All business and industries must take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, and the construction industry is no different. Under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6, some types of construction are considered to be essential, including construction:
- For roads, bridges, transit, hospitals, and schools
- For affordable housing
- For existing projects of an essential business
- Necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants of a structure
- Necessary to continue a project if allowing the project to remain undone would be unsafe
The governor’s guidance instructs all personnel working on a site to maintain appropriate social distance, including for purposes of elevators, meals, and entries and exits. Enforcement is conducted by state and local authorities, and includes fines of up to $10,000 for violations. Construction workers should also take the additional precautions:
- Conduct meetings over the phone or outdoors as much as possible
- Stagger meetings that must be conducted in person
- Wash your hands for 30 seconds after using the bathroom, before you eat, and before, during, and after preparing food
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Monitor employees for symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever, body aches, and shortness of breath)
- Encourage symptomatic workers to stay home
How to Report COVID-19 Unsafe Work Environments
If your employer is forcing you to work when you are sick, forcing you to work on non-essential construction projects, not following health and safety mandates, or otherwise violating Executive Order 202.6, you may file a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor. If you require assistance, please contact a COVID-19 Long Island workers comp lawyer.
What to Do if You Suspect You Got Sick Onsite
If you think you may have contracted COVID-19 at work, you should follow the CDC’s guidelines that are applicable to everyone infected with the virus:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people
- Monitor your symptoms
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day
If you think you will pursue workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19 infection, you will also need to submit an Employee Claim (C-3) form to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board within two years of the date you were exposed.
Contact a COVID-19 Long Island Workers Comp Lawyer for More Information
If you think you may have contracted COVID-19 on a construction site, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For more information, please contact a coronavirus Long Island workers comp lawyer at Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by filling out our online form or calling us at 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley).