These days there is definitely a possibility that one of your employees may test positive for COVID-19. As an employer, it is important to know what steps to take when you are notified that a staff member has tested positive. It is recommended that you take the following steps immediately in order to ensure the safety of your employees and to comply with applicable laws.
1. Notify Staff and Potentially Exposed Workers
Under AB 685, you are required to notify all staff members of the outbreak. It is important to act as soon as possible because the notice should be provided within one business day of the potential exposure. Provide a written notice not only to employees, but also employers of subcontracted staff who were on the same premises as the worker who was diagnosed with COVID. It is important to note that you must respect the privacy of the individual who was diagnosed and should not announce their name to the other staff.
2. Notify Workers’ Compensation Carrier
You may also be required to contact your workers’ compensation carrier regarding any employee that has tested positive. CA requirements give three business days to do this. If you fail to report this or provide false, misleading information, you may be subject to a civil penalty. When contacting your workers’ comp carrier, you will need to provide the following:
- Name of individual who tested positive
- Date of positive COVID test
- Address where employee works and where they worked during the 14 days prior to the COVID test
- Highest number of employees who reported to work within the 45-day period immediately preceding the last date that the employee testing positive worked.
You can also provide the insurance carrier information related to whether the staff member worked on site or remotely, whether the individual believes they were exposed by a family member or at work, social gathering, or by someone outside of work. During their review, the workers’ compensation carrier will investigate to determine if the exposure was work-related.
3. Follow requirements on the County Public Health Department’s website
Each county may have additional employer requirements for quarantine periods, isolation, when an employee can return to work, mask mandates, social distancing, and much more. Be sure to look at the public health department’s website for the county where the work of the employee was performed.
4. Follow the latest OSHA requirements
Employers should become familiar with OSHA’s requirements which can include how to handle face coverings, COVID-19 hazards, and preventive measures.
Businesses are also required by OSHA to create and maintain a COVID-19 Prevention Plan in order to ensure the safety of their employees and customers.
As always, it is recommended that employers check their state health and safety laws for up to date information on how to navigate potential COVID outbreaks.