Southeastern Pennsylvania counties received the go-ahead to enter the “green” phase of reopening starting June 26. The stage is the least-restrictive of Gov. Tom Wolf’s color-coded economic reopening strategy to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “green” phase allows schools, restaurants, hair salons, gyms, and casinos to reopen. However, several restrictions still apply, including a ban on large-scale events involving crowds of more than 250 people. Philadelphia and other communities are opting for a slower pace of reopening.
Safety group offers workplace guidelines in COVID-19 era
As millions of workers return to their jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) warns that workers’ lives, as well as the communities they live in, are being put at risk as coronavirus cases continue to soar in parts of the country.
The National COSH issued recommendations to improve workplace safety, worker participation, and fair compensation for sick and injured employees. The guidelines were drafted by physicians, certified industrial hygienists, lawyers, educators, and leaders of non-profits and non-governmental agencies.
Key recommendations for a safe return to work
The National COSH says safely returning to the workplace requires:
- Stringent and effective health and safety protections based on science, the enforcement of those elements, and input from workers, unions, and employers.
- A comprehensive system that includes testing, screening, isolation, contact tracing, and epidemiological monitoring.
- Guaranteed job protections, and appropriate compensation for those who work and those who can’t.
- Respect for and inclusion of worker input for all planning, procedures, and decisions made over safety in the workplace, and plans for returning to work.
- Measures that seek to ensure fairness, inclusion, and a common goal to end economic and health disparities
Protecting at-risk workers during a pandemic
Statistics show the coronavirus has had a greater impact on workers of color, immigrants, women, and low-income workers, many working in what are recognized as “essential” jobs. Those roles include health care, grocery stores, and those addressing other critical needs. Many of these roles are among the lowest paid, with little or no access to quality health care.
COVID-19 is covered under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act. However, proving that you contracted the virus during your employment can prove to be challenging. If you become ill, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can answer your questions about potential benefits and how to file a claim to seek a fair outcome.