Workers Compensation for COVID-19 Exposed Prison Guards

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covid-19 prison employees

After Covid-19 prison employees have faced rising number of death and serious injury. The introduction of Covid-19 to our nation impeded many American’s from safely performing their jobs. One position which has vastly suffered due to this virus is that of a prison guard. Being an essential service during COVID-19 prison guards are expected to perform duties normally. This puts them and their family in jeopardy as the virus has the potential to spread during physical interactions.

As a leading employment law firm in Ohio, Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, & Shultz understands the financial and emotional strain working in a COVID-19 prison puts on a family. Therefore, we work closely with clients to ensure they receive every protection and benefit during this difficult time, including worker’s compensation.

The Initiation of Worker’s Compensation in the United States

Worker’s compensation was first established in the United States in 1911. Times were much different than today. Job conditions were harsh and sometimes dangerous. Many of the cases which encouraged the creation of a worker’s compensation act involved loss of limb or permanent disability. This caused many businesses to dismiss or avoid hiring employees who may pose a threat to their finances. For example, an employee with only one eye may be overlooked for fear that he may lose the other and sue not only for the loss of an eye, but for the loss of livelihood in the development of a permanent disability.

Since 1911 the laws surrounding employee health and compensation have intensified to protect our workers in a variety of ways. Changes have been made to avoid the discrimination of potential employees based on disabilities or impairments. They have also made changes to advance the support of employees in fields that pose a physical threat regularly, such as the role of a prison guard.

Although these modern changes make it easier for men and women across the country to receive compensation for illness and injury, sometimes worker’s compensation alone is not enough. This is when working with an employment lawyer becomes necessary.

House Bill 81 and What it Means for Covid-19 Prison Employees

One of the bills which have helped improve conditions for modern workers is House Bill 81, which protects Covid-19 prison employees from loss of livelihood due to exposure to the virus. The Bill enforces the self-insured employer to provide payment toward the testing and other services used to ensure no diseases are passed through blood or bodily fluids to employees.

Unfortunately, during Covid-19 prison employees are being exposed to the virus in a variety of ways, including contamination through interaction with expressed bodily fluids. This includes:

·   Splatter into mouth, or eyes even during mouth to mouth resuscitation.

·   Punctured skin

·   Any lesion, wound, ulcer, or cut resulting in an opening in the skin which could become contaminated.

When this occurs, the employer must pay the costs of medical tests to ensure the employee has not sustained a disease or injury due to the transfer of fluids. Restrictions to this rule imply that the employee must have been exposed to a drug or chemical substance during their employment and that the testing services being requested are consistent with modern care standards, or the standards used at the time of the injury.

The time frame in which an employee must make their claim is 5-years. Following this, the claim will be considered null. The Bill also states that should an employee be found disabled to work temporarily, he or she is entitled to receive sixty-six and two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Following two-hundred weeks the employee may be diagnosed a second time to confirm whether sustained injuries have become permanent and permanent disability benefits are required.

Dangers of Working in a Covid-19 Prison Scenario

Covid-19 has made it dangerous to work anywhere with social interaction. In prison settings where people work in close quarters, and convicts sometimes require physical association to be contained and kept from hurting one another, prison guards are faced with extreme risk. Some of the ways COVID-19 prison employees are put at risk include:

·   Moving prisoners from one area to another

·   Breaking up physical altercations which could cause bodily harm to one another where blood is transferred

·   Dealing with spitting and other rude displays which pose the threat of contamination by bodily fluid

·   Mealtime monitoring during which food and saliva could contact a guard

·   Illness in the prison, wherein a guard may be sneezed or coughed on

There are many other physical risks that could put a guard’s life at risk, during which time bodily fluids could be transferred and COVID-19 could be passed from one person to the next. Dealing with a highly contagious and novel virus, such as COVID-19 prison employees require additional help from worker’s compensation and other protective services to maintain health and financial security.

Working with an Employment Lawyer in Ohio

While worker compensation laws have improved and Bill 81 provides some coverage for Covid-19 prison workers, the available coverage is not always enough. There are also sometimes problems enforcing Bill 81 without the help of a lawyer.

If you have sustained an injury, are ill, or are afraid of becoming ill due to an encounter with bodily fluid while working as a prison guard in Ohio, contacting a lawyer can improve your chances of successfully appealing for worker’s compensation services. These services are required by law to be provided by employers and protect Covid-19 prison employees as they face every day in an environment which could potentially harm them.

Ohio employment lawyers like Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, & Schultz, specialize in worker’s compensation and more specifically, Covid-19 prison cases. As these difficult times have increased the need for extended protection to our essential workforce, our law firm has seen a rise in employees seeking compensation and being wrongfully denied.

Employment lawyers understand the intricate legal system in Ohio and follow updates to Bills and laws as they occur. This gives lawyers an upper hand in enforcing the law and ensuring you receive the compensation due to you because of a workplace illness or injury.


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House Bill 81 & Prison Employees

One of the bills which have helped improve conditions for modern workers is House Bill 81, which protects Covid-19 prison employees from loss of livelihood due to exposure to the virus. The Bill enforces the self-insured employer to provide payment toward the testing and other services used to ensure no diseases are passed through blood or bodily fluids to employees.

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Dangers of Covid-19 for Prison Workers

·   Moving prisoners from one area to another
·   Breaking up physical altercations which could cause bodily harm to one another where blood is transferred
·   Dealing with spitting and other rude displays which pose the threat of contamination by bodily fluid
·   Mealtime monitoring during which food and saliva could contact a guard
·   Illness in the prison, wherein a guard may be sneezed or coughed on

Learn More


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