If you’ve watched the news for more than five minutes over the last few weeks, it’s almost certain that you’ve heard reports about Coronavirus. This contagious illness has the potential to be deadly, and its rapid spread across the globe has caused a measure of panic. Amidst these fears, authorities in California are taking steps to make sure health care workers stay as safe as possible.
People who work in the medical field are the first line of defense when there is the threat of a highly contagious virus or pandemic. These men and women need to know how to stay safe as they are the ones who will be treating the ill and fighting the spread of the disease. Employers, hospitals, government organizations, and others should do everything possible to keep health care workers healthy and on the job.
Providing care for patients
It’s obvious that caring for patients with this virus or working with people who possibly have this illness is risky. To reduce the risk of health care workers and laboratory workers contracting Coronavirus, Cal/OSHA has mandated training on the following:
- Symptoms and signs of this virus
- Certain tasks that increase the chance of exposure
- Methods for reducing the chance of exposure
- How to properly use respirators
- How to handle, wear and dispose of protective equipment
- Provision of vaccines, if and when they become available
One of the main responsibilities of employers is making sure that workers have what they need to do their jobs safely. In health care and in the midst of a virus outbreak, this includes safety gear, such as respirators, and a plan of action for diagnosing, treating, and isolating patients.
Sick workers have rights
Another important factor in keeping health care workers safe is having a plan of action in place in case of an exposure event in the facility. Workers of all levels and types should have proper training on what to do, how to proceed, and how to react in case of exposure. While it is impossible to reduce all risks associated with working in health care, it is possible to make things safer and lower the chance of contracting a highly contagious illness.
When a worker becomes ill because of his or her work, this is possible grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. If you have concerns about your safety in the workplace or what to do if your job negatively affected your health, it may be useful to talk with an experienced attorney about your options.