The Impact of Coronavirus on Workers Compensation Insurance

With New York State officially in a state of emergency as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the number of coronavirus cases in New York rose to 89, it’s important for business owners to understand the impact of coronavirus on their workers compensation insurance.

Will Workers Comp Cover Coronavirus?

There are two tests which must be satisfied before any illness or disease, including the Coronavirus qualifies as occupational and thus triggering compensation under workers comp:

  1. The illness or disease must be “occupational,” meaning that it arose out of and was in the course and scope of the employment.
  2. The illness or disease must arise out of or be caused by conditions “peculiar” to the work.

Both tests are subject to the nature and function of work performed by the employee.

If the illness or disease is found to be both “occupational” and resulting from the “peculiar” nature of work activities then there is a good chance workers’ compensation insurance will respond.

NOTE: These “tests” are subject to the interpretations and specific language governing workers comp in the state in which work is performed. Additionally, these “tests” are meant as guides and not absolutes or guarantees. Each workers’ comp case is judged on its own merits and surrounding circumstances.

Coronavirus

While hype around coronavirus is at legendary levels, the fact is coronavirus is not more “occupational” than the standard flu we experience every year.

The one glaring exception to this rule would be healthcare workers who may be able to prove the necessary peculiarity for workers compensation to respond. This is particularly true in situations where workers are face-to-face with sick people all day, (i.e. urgent care, primary care and emergency room professionals).

The Rub

The coronavirus while certainly having the potential for global exposure, is not special in its handling by workers comp standards.

This does not relinquish business owners from their moral responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

Now, more than ever, business owners must be vigilant in their adoption of OSHA compliant health and safety standards.

If you questions or if your current insurance professional has never addressed these issues with you before, then I’d encourage you to reach out to us at Rogue Risk, today.

I hope this article helped you better understand OSHA compliance.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley

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