5/25/21—Under latest CDC guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated can resume normal activities without masking and social distancing. This could be good news for reopening businesses, instilling confidence in vaccinated consumers. With the CDC continuing to recommend preventative practices for those who have not been vaccinated, employers also need to consider those who could be vulnerable in their workforce and act accordingly.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, business owners must provide workplace health and safety, free from any hazard that could likely cause serious harm or death. Accordingly, COVID concerns have sparked over 1000 workplace-related lawsuits in 2020 alone. Lately, businesses such as Amazon have faced legal allegations claiming the company failed to safeguard its workforce from exposure to COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon did not enforce adequate physical distancing, nor did it adequately identify and notify potential contacts of infected workers.
California regulations define COVID-19 as a compensable illness, eligible for worker’s comp, unless employers can prove the infected employee had no known exposure at work. Coronavirus has also been the impetus for a record-breaking amount of class-action cases, which can mean one million dollars in payouts for cases of more than 30 employees. Sixteen states have employer protections in place regarding COVID-19 lawsuits, including Florida, where businesses and organizations can be immune from liability if they have made notable effort to prevent spread.
As OSHA reviews the new CDC guidelines and formulates workplace recommendations, businesses will continue to decide for themselves on how to best implement the new guidelines. The more documented protocol in place, “the better your argument is going to be” in the event of an inspection or a lawsuit, says Jennifer Scharf, a health law attorney at the Coppola Firm in Amherst, New York. Eliminating the hazard for unvaccinated employees means stopping the main source of spread, close contact within 6 feet, separating infected and potentially infected employees from the unexposed workforce, and implementing a system to monitor for trends of infection.
Now the world’s largest provider of non-intrusive digital technologies to improve safety compliance while conducting contact tracing, AlertTrace reminds employees to maintain social distancing, and helps end the chain of transmission with reliable data on contacts made. Leadership gain insight on how their employees are maintaining distancing efforts, with data providing the ability to take informed action if dangerous patterns arise. When AlertTrace is used to detect trends of infection and enact reactive protocols – like strategically reorganizing shifts, restructuring activities or targeted education – employees and leadership can move forward with confidence.
In the event that an employee tests positive, administrators are able to quickly identify an employee’s historical anonymized contacts to safeguard the workforce in a matter of minutes. And with the new, client requested, and optional Indoor Location Tracing feature, data-driven decisions on sanitization can be made after a confirmed infection. Instead of shutting down an entire facility to clean, data from AlertTrace shows which locations need to be disinfected, keeping operations moving in unaffected areas. Contact us today to learn how AlertTrace can help your business reopen safely and responsibly, ensuring productivity for both employers and the workforce.