With the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Colorado, it's crucial to know what to do if one of your employees gets the virus. Part of that is understanding whether employees can claim workers’ compensation if they contract the virus. For such a claim to be admitted, the employee would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the infection arose out of and in the course of employment.
This approach is similar to other claims of workplace exposure to contamination or illness. If the worker was on the clock and on the premises at the time of the exposure to the virus and can establish a causal connection between the duties of their employment and the infection, then the claim may be held compensable. If the virus is circulating widely in the community where the business is operating, it may be difficult for a worker to prove COVID-19 was contracted at work versus elsewhere. A worker will need to be able to trace the contraction of the virus to a particular time, place and cause in the workplace for it to be deemed compensable.
We will investigate and evaluate any claimed injury that occurs while working from home just as we would a claim in the workplace. We will determine whether the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment and arose out of the employment. Learn more about reporting suspected workers’ compensation injuries.
We want to ensure all Pinnacol customers and their employees can get tested quickly if they suspect they’ve been exposed to or infected with COVID-19 as a result of their work. If you or your employees need to get tested, please contact the medical provider of your choice, and Pinnacol will pay for the COVID-19 testing. It is not necessary to go to one of your designated workers’ comp providers for the test. If you or your employee believes there is a work-related exposure to COVID-19, we recommend you file a claim. Should the test results be positive, current state law regarding workplace exposures will apply in order for Pinnacol to pay for further COVID-19-related treatment and benefits.
For many Colorado employers, the majority of the work gets done at a specific location, like a kitchen, a hotel or a manufacturing facility. But in most industries, there are tasks your employees may be able to accomplish while complying with a stay-at-home order. Pinnacol's Return to Work team curated a handy list here.
Protecting your employees from airborne dust, mist and fumes is essential, but it’s become difficult as the world diverts its limited supply of respirators to frontline healthcare workers and emergency responders. Our recommendations are to:
1. Remove the hazard if possible
2. Use an alternative to the N95
3. Extend the use of expired respirators. Find out more here.
Currently our Pinnacol Assurance team is working virtually — at full strength— ready to help you through these difficult times. Our lobby remains closed to the public and all services are being provided virtually. Contact Us.
We’re prioritizing the health of Pinnacol employees and our customers every step of the way as we resume face-to-face contact and field service. Employees will be allowed to participate in face-to-face interactions and field service interactions with Pinnacol stakeholders under very limited circumstances in which a virtual option is not feasible or available.
If a face-to-face visit is appropriate and approved, Pinnacol employees will follow current CDC guidelines including wearing face coverings, following social distancing guidelines, forgoing handshakes and not sharing materials. They will also reach out to customers ahead of the visit to ensure attendees are healthy and free from a known COVID-19 exposure. Pinnacol will monitor these guidelines consistently and they are subject to change.
We are also offering free virtual safety consultations for all Colorado businesses. Connect with a Pinnacol safety expert today.