The battle for COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims to be approved has already begun at various points around the United States. Like past battles with insurance companies denying claims for job-related cancer manifestations in firefighters and other first-responder groups, the pandemic has shown that you cannot always tell where the virus point of infection in a group of people begins. But it is there, regardless, and it must be dealt with.
When it comes to food production, there is no way around the fact that people need food to survive, unless you are someone who, enviably, lives off the land already. Not everyone has enough room to grow enough amounts of produce in their back yards or can walk out the door to the woods to bring down a deer or hog for the dinner table.
That leaves the rest of us relying on production plants to process produce, meats, fish, and dairy products so we can buy them at the local grocery store. In order to meet society’s needs, production plants must hire enough people to meet the daily output goals that satisfy grocery store demands. During the pandemic, working in such close quarters as a meat-processing plant would require, is a recipe for disaster when contagious diseases are present.
Many close-quarter food processing plants with workers on the line have now installed plexiglass dividers to separate workers, yet still have them close enough together to maintain the speed of the conveyor belt. Add on required masks AND plastic surgical (or industry-approved) gloves, and this can cut down the opportunities of spreading the virus throughout the company. Yet, if a worker does come down with COVID-19, that worker should still receive workers’ compensation, regardless of where it might have come from.
Remember that many people do not have symptoms even though they test positive for the virus. Unless you fully test each worker (not just the temperature test) every single day at the door, you do not know who has the virus and where the benchmark really is.
Is it cheaper for the employer to require a daily COVID-19 test and temperature reading for each employee walking through the door? Or is it cheaper to have an employee get sick with COVID-19, send the worker home, and then deny the worker the benefits needed to survive?
Providing workers’ compensation benefits means, not only that this worker has a better chance to survive, effectively, but that other workers seeing this, and knowing the employer and insurance company will support them as best as possible, will show up for work every day. After all, it costs money and time to train new workers to replace those who are gone. Investing in the well-being of one’s employees goes a long way in ensuring that a company will be more successful in every way, even in a difficult year.
Everyone is making compromises these days. It is just part of what it takes to survive in the best manner possible, given the current circumstances.
If you are working in a situation that does not provide the necessary support for staying healthy, and you are injured or become ill, you should call an Arizona workers compensation attorney. Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.
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