Thousands of coronavirus workplace complaints: I-Team

I-Team

(WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found an explosion of workers turning to state and federal investigators claiming the people they work for have not done enough to protect them from COVID-19.

As of last week, nearly 3,000 workers had filed complaints from Northeast Ohio and around the country with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

While many of you have called FOX 8 with concerns, a sampling of complaints include, “Employees are not being provided personal protective equipment.” And, “Approximately 30 employees have been exposed.” And, “No hand-washing station.”

The feds say they’re investigating the OSHA complaints.  Employers can be fined.

*See more I-Team investigations during the coronavirus pandemic*

Meantime, we’ve found more than 175 people have filed with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation demanding payments. They say they actually got sick from COVID-19 at work.

Last month, Stephanie McCloud, the administrator for the Bureau of Workers Comp, told the I-Team,
“Presumably, these claimants believe that they received this at work, or they were exposed in some disproportionate way.”
She added it can be hard to prove someone got sick on the job, infected in the workplace.

Nonetheless, the Bureau of Workers Comp now has a special unit handling COVID-19 claims.

Attorney Tom Merriman said, “Let’s not fight about who caused it or where you got it.”
Merriman believes workers dealing with the public and the sick should not have to prove where they got infected. And, he believes the companies they work for shouldn’t get punished.

He added, “Say,  look, we’re not gonna fight about how you may have gotten that. We’re just gonna accept that you were in a high-risk position. You get the benefit, and we’re not gonna ding your employer for it.'”
No matter how you see it, the COVID-19 outbreak has led to an outbreak of claims and complaints from workers.

The agencies have made some rulings in some of the cases, but many could take some time especially when they involve medical records.

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