Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) July 13, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic almost instantly changed the lives of workers across the country. For many, the pandemic means reduced hours, lay-offs, furloughs or, for those fortunate enough to be able to do so, working from home. Workers designated as essential employees still have to go to work despite the dangers involved in doing so. Essential businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been wrestling with how to maintain a safe workplace and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to a recent article published by nj.com, there have been at least 162 federal complaints about dangerous workplaces since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Many of the workers claim that their employers have not provided enough protective gear, are making them work near sick colleagues or otherwise are ignoring federal regulations meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The 162 complaints amount to a total of 190 allegations of federal health and safety violations, leaving an estimated 16,400 New Jersey workers at risk.
One concerned employee explained in a complaint that “there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 [and] employees are still required to report to work … The employer has not disinfected the facility or put a policy into place which would [protect] employees from contracting COVID-19 during work activities and interactions.” One of the most common employers cited in the complaints was the United States Post Office. In total, there were 11 complaints involving the Post Office.
One legal scholar at Rutgers explained that part of the problem is the fact that there are no federal OSHA guidelines dealing with a deadly and contagious virus. And while the CDC has issued guidelines for how to protect against the spread of the virus, those are just “guidelines” and carry little opportunity for enforcement.
One proposed solution is for Governor Murphy to sign an executive order allowing employees to refuse to work if they fear for their safety. However, no such steps have been taken, and essential workers may be required to come to work by their employer or face adverse employment action.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the New Jersey law firm of Petrillo & Goldberg remind employees that they should be taking all safety precautions on their own and should not necessarily rely on employers to foster a safe working environment. Attorney Goldberg explains “Of course, the ultimate duty to create a safe workplace is the employers’, but why jeopardize your health unnecessarily? If you have access to protective gear, use it. Do what you can to stay safe.” Petrillo and Goldberg remind workers who have contracted COVID-19 while on the job that they may have options to pursue a claim. Even if an employer is not necessarily “at fault,” employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
The law firm of Petrillo & Goldberg has assembled a compassionate team of advocates who have dedicated their career to ensuring that New Jersey injury accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. The injury advocates at Petrillo & Goldberg deal with the insurance companies so employees can focus on recovering, returning to work and moving forward with their life. To learn more, visit https://www.petrilloandgoldberg.com, or call, 856-249-9288 to schedule a free consultation.
Petrillo & Goldberg Law
6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109
19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
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