American workers spend more than one-third of their day on the clock, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Employers play a pivotal role in preventing workplace disease. Workers in various environments from kitchens to offices are at-risk of contracting communicable diseases, especially those who work near other employees. However, by taking certain safety precautions, both employers and employees can help prevent illnesses in the workplace.
Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention
To help reduce work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages employers to implement injury and illness prevention programs. According to OSHA, several states have had success with such programs, which emphasize management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, assessment, prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.
Pennsylvania’s voluntary program also supports the conclusion that injury and illness prevention programs dramatically reduce the risk of workplace injury. Upon examining the effectiveness of the program, researchers at OSHA found that employers who established joint labor-management safety committees in exchange for workers’ compensation premium discounts had less workplace injuries and illnesses than those who did not.
Education Prevents the Spread of Disease
Employers should inform workers about the risks associated with workplace hazards, including transmittable and communicable diseases. In addition to providing such information, employers can encourage workers to participate in preventing workplace disease by:
- Coughing or sneezing into the crook of their elbow
- Not using another worker’s computer, shaking someone’s hand, or sharing food when sick
- Placing used tissues in the trash
- Staying home or telecommuting when sick
- Using hand sanitizer when unable to wash their hands
- Washing their hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap under running water
- Wiping down desktops and other surfaces with sanitizing wipes
Distributing materials in the workplace, sending out a company-wide email, or holding a seminar are all ways in which employers can communicate this safety information to employees. According to OSHA, management involvement and employee participation are two vital elements of an effective injury and illness prevention program.
Compensation for Workplace Diseases in Pennsylvania
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers have a responsibility to provide employees with safe and healthful workplaces. However, many workplaces have still not implemented workplace health promotion programs, according to the CDC. This can end up costing them in the long run, as chronic conditions are a major source of workers’ compensation claims and lost productivity.
Employees who are injured at work or contract a work-related disease may be entitled to benefits under the Act. There are specific time limitations and requirements for filing a claim; therefore, injured workers may need an attorney to assist them in obtaining the maximum amount of benefits in their case. It is advisable to contact a local attorney for assistance as the law on workers’ compensation varies by state.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Benefits for Work-Related Diseases
If you were diagnosed with a work-related disease, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible for various benefits, including replacement of lost wages and compensation for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, such as hospital treatments, services, and supplies. For a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.