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Employer’s duties to protect employees from illnesses

| Nov 1, 2017 | workers' compensation

Some jobs expose workers to certain types of illnesses and make them more susceptible to contracting these illnesses. Employees such as janitors, housekeepers, nurses, dental assistants and people in similar jobs often find themselves exposed to certain infectious materials that could adversely affect their health. These employees should know that California employers are required to follow the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulations on bloodborne pathogen standard.

How do these employees come into contact with infected material? Because they are handling soiled sheets, first-aid equipment, tissues and medical or dental utensils that may contain contaminated blood or bodily fluids. Though the risk is very low to contract diseases, such as Hepatitis B, from their duties, it is still important to follow the requisite regulations to ensure the risk is zero.

The standard requires employers to reduce the risk of infection by evaluating the hazards people face on the job. If there is any possibility that one might be at risk, they should develop an exposure control plan and then give employees training on how to avoid exposure. Employers should also provide protective equipment that would allow employees to do their work without exposure and even provide vaccination against illnesses, such as Hepatitis B.

It is important for employers to provide safe working environments to the employees who are working diligently to provide clean and risk free spaces for the public. When an employer fails to do their part and an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result, the injured employee may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive compensation to cover their medical expenses.