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Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp: Covid-19

Published on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:56 pm in workers' compensation.

People shopping in the last week may have found themselves staring at racks of empty shelves that should hold toilet paper or water, witnessing the impact that Covid-19 can have on people. Many are worried for good reason.

Precaution and care is recommended in this confusing time. Regardless, it does raise the question of what is to be done and what options there are if one becomes infected — especially if you are entitled to compensations for being infected on the job. A JD Supra press release details Pennsylvania’s compensation rules.

Specific compensable “occupational diseases”

The PA Worker’s Compensation Act details four occupational diseases that are always covered:

  • Heart and lung disease for firemen with 4+ years of service
  • Tuberculosis and hepatitis for health care workers, lab techs and related professionals
  • Pneumoconiosis and silicosis for any occupation that involves direct contact with or exposure to coal dust
  • Specific types of chemical poisoning for occupations that involve direct contact or exposure

The problem with Covid-19

This strain of coronavirus is still very new. As such it is not listed under the Compensation Act as a recognized disease. This does not imply that there is zero assistance available, especially in the healthcare field where workers bravely continue their jobs amid the outbreak. All it means is that there is no set statute of protection. Pennsylvania could award compensation based on a heightened risk in any workplace.

Outside of healthcare, there is precedence of compensation awarded for on-the-job contraction, provided enough proof and testiomy. To those worried, providing a causal connection in the workplace may be evidence enough to merit compensation from Pennsylvania courts.

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