COVID-19 Construction Safety
If you ever need to know how to make a WSIB COVID-19 claim, your Build With Safety – Ontario Safety Trainers have put together some information to help you out, as well as linked to WSIB resources that will be helpful in doing so. We are not legal professionals and encourage you to talk with the WSIB once you become aware of a confirmed case of the virus. But, we have compiled the following information to help you continue in the process of doing so.
The Foundation and Steps of The Claim
The nature of different work settings puts humans at a greater risk than others for contracting the virus, especially when sharing a work vehicle, a swing stage, or even when getting help to put on a harness…
Because every situation is different, any claims received by the WSIB will need to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and be given as much documentation as possible to help with the decision. This is to make sure that the virus was acquired while working and not while out in the community. A community COVID-19 acquired case is usually dealt with by your local public health unit.
The application and decision process is designed to be simple. There is an online portal for people to access and sign up for. Once you have an account, you can log in and begin your claim following the provided steps. On the WSIB website, after you log-in, there will be a form for you to fill out.
This is why construction sites and workplaces should write down or record digitally a detailed record of everybody who is there that day. If they are journalling:
- How many visitors came in one day?
- Who visited the site and why?
- How many times were they there?
- Where were they working?
- Who were they working with?
- Which group of workers were they near?
All these things have to be marked down and documented, especially dates to establish time lines in order to help the WSIB out accurately and swiftly.
Timeline To Report A WSIB COVID-19 Claim
An employee who has an undiagnosed case of COVID and chooses to self-isolate, or is isolating on a precautionary basis, does not qualify for WSIB and would have to check out the After CERB program on the Government of Canada’s website. But, someone with a diagnosed case who has to be home and cannot work will need to supplement their income. The employer is always responsible for the safety of all workers involved, and should be informed no matter what the case, and the WSIB needs to be informed too.
More specifically, the employer is responsible for:
- Having a hierarchy of controls in place to control exposure to COVID
- Posting in a clear place COVID-19 Safety Protocols
- A system in place that encourages workers to be safe and not come to work if they are ill
- Documenting any injuries or exposures or COVID-nineteen diagnoses
- Reporting the COVID-19 case to WSIB within 3 days of becoming aware
- Follow guidelines of regulating bodies and local health units
How does a WSIB COVID-19 Claim benefit workers?
Any change in a workers paycheque is detrimental to so many families.
To supplement their income, the COVID-19 claim needs to be submitted, and submitted correctly on-time.
For more than 7 days of a regular pay, on the 8th day, modified work can be given.
Even if they don’t need treatment from a health care professional, their injury or illness must be reported to give the benefits of the modified work benefit.
If they are recovering from their illness for more than 7 days, they can return on the 8th.
The time limits listed, however, may be impacted by COVID-19. There is 6 months from the date of injury, but when in doubt, report.
Report even if you think you are not required to, even if you are told not to but feel you should – the WSIB are open to helping and provide a plether of resources on their website.
It’s always better to report, even if you think you are not covered.
If you are told to use use sick days to recover from COVID- you should contact the WSIB.
Employers are responsible for all whom they employ. If they are not reporting for you, you should report yourself.
If you are unsure, you should report it. It is against the law to discourage a report of workplace injury. There are financial and procedural penalties if not.
You will continue to receive WSIB benefits if your employer temporarily shuts down due to COVID-19
According to their site, The Workplace Safety Insurance Board will continue to pay wage-loss benefits and have ensured loss-of-earning benefits will remain up to date.
You will continue to receive the same benefits that you were receiving at the time of your employer’s temporary shutdown until you have recovered from your injury or illness or your employer reopens and has work that is safe and suitable for you. The WSIB will explain your situation to you if needed, they are easily available by phone or online.
When NOT to make a WSIB claim for COVID-19
If you only believe you were exposed to COVID, but are not showing symptoms, and you haven’t gotten a test result back yet to determine that, then do not file a claim.
However, there is an avenue for possible exposure on the WSIB website – A report an exposure incident
That is when you bleive you were exposed to an illness on the job when you believe you may have breathed in an unsafe chemcial that can make you very sick if not now, in the future.
Documenting this and submitting it procedurally can help and be proactive if you do in the near future contract COVID-19 from your workplace.
Reporting exposure is voluntary however, but is not discouraged. It is helping a future possible incident if that result does come back positive, then your claim will carry forward sooner.
It is against the law for an employer to discourage you to not report the illness to the WSIB or local health unit, that is essentially fraud. Employers and employees need to work together to stop the spread, to record the spread, and to deliver that information to the WSIB promptly.
WSIB has a team of professionals who assess situations and claims on a case by case basis. There is a panel of members that discuss together with adjudicators to review each claim with consideration as required. The time for each claim will be different, depending on the number of missing pieces they have to put into their decision-making process.
They are trying their best to get back sooner however, and this may imporve in the near future.
When considering a COVID-19 workplace exposure vs. a community exposure, having a work place COVID-19 safety plan that includes a self assessment quiz is an excellent strategy to keep track of contact tracing.
At build with safety, we use a unique QR code that links to a google form document where we have created a self assessment quiz of our own. All viistors to our location must complete this quiz before entering our facility either by scanning the code on our door, or by using the link we send them via e-mail or text message. That way, we can collect names, dates, contact infomration, times of presence, and symptoms recorded at that time.
As we know by now, symptoms can change rapidly throughout the day, so having maybe a requirement to do a self-assessment quiz twice a day or more may be a good option for controlling the situation.
Over all, WSIB claims are responded to within 2-5 business days, but the situation can vary depending on if they are missing information or if there was a sudden increase in claims at that time.
If you would like to know more about our COVID-19 Construction Workplace Test, or even want to learn how to get one fore yourself, please e-mail email@example.com.