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Returning To Work During The Pandemic

  • Dave Brown, Esquire
  • 05/11/2020

You have gotten your fill of watching Netflix and doing home improvement projects since the start of the pandemic – and now you’re heading back to work because your employer has decided to re-open. We understand that you may be chomping at the bit to go back, especially if you have not received a paycheck since the beginning of the shutdown in mid-March. But we want to remind you of the importance of staying safe as you integrate yourself back into the workforce – for your sake, your co-workers, and other people that you interact with. Undoubtedly, your employer will set guidelines for you to adhere to with regard to wearing gloves and a mask, as well as utilizing social distancing. While things have stabilized somewhat in recent weeks, we’re still far from being out of the woods, as new coronavirus cases and sadly more deaths, are reported every day. Therefore, even though you might be so fed up with wearing gloves and masks that you want to dump them in the trash, it’s imperative that you hold on to them, as we all must continue to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, whether we’re in the grocery store or back to work.

If you return to work, you may be so preoccupied with making sure that you are following the safety protocols concerning the coronavirus, that you do not pay enough attention to general safety principles that were second nature to you before the shutdown. We don’t want that to happen because if you steer clear of COVID-19 but injure your knee and can’t work, you will be right back at home with no paycheck, seeing if you missed anything good on Netflix. So we want to remind you of some basic safety tips to increase your chances of remaining injury-free:

  • If you have to lift heavy items, always use proper posture, and lift with your legs, not your back. If you let your back do all the work, you’re at a greater risk of injuring your back. Furthermore, seek the assistance of a co-worker when necessary. For example, if you’re a nurse or nursing assistant, and a heavy patient needs to be transferred from his bed to a wheelchair, ask a co-worker to help you. It will be much safer for the transfer to be accomplished with two persons than one.
  • If you operate any equipment at work that you believe is unsafe, notify your supervisor and/or the human resources manager. For example, if the legs are wobbly on the large machine that you operate and you are concerned that it could fall on you, don’t put yourself at risk – say something. Likewise, if you’re driving one of the company trucks and you notice that the brakes are not working properly, mention this to your superiors. They will thank you for bringing these potentially hazardous conditions to their attention because you will be making the company’s workplace safer.
  • Use safety equipment whenever it is required. If you’re excavating at a construction site, don’t get sloppy and forget to wear your hard hat – you don’t want rocks flying up and hitting you in the head. If you’re using tools in a shop, which will cause debris to spray, remember to wear your goggles.

These may seem like common sense suggestions, but they cannot be taken lightly. Workplace injuries are frequently caused by faulty machinery and the carelessness of employees.
We sure do not want you to come down with the coronavirus or injure yourself at work but understand that it still could happen even if you take all the necessary precautions. If you are one of those unlikely people who contract coronavirus or some other disease or sustains an injury to some part of your body, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers at Pearson Koutcher Law are here to make sure that you get the benefits you deserve under the law, which includes payment of money for your inability to work, and payment of your medical bills. Our firm has earned its reputation for providing compassionate, first-rate representation of injured workers. If you were hurt at work in Pennsylvania, please contact the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers and we will zealously represent you.