In May of 2022, the first documented case of Monkeypox associated with the recent global outbreak was reported in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared Monkeypox a public health emergency. As of October 1st, approximately 5,000 cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed in California.
On September 15th, 2022, Cal/OSHA published official guidance for employers on the protection of workers from Monkeypox. All employees in California should be able to work in a reasonably safe environment free from preventable health hazards. In this article, our Fresno work injury lawyer discusses the Cal/OSHA guidance in more detail.
Monkeypox is spread primarily by skin-to-skin contact. However, there is also reliable evidence that the virus can be transmitted through the air in some circumstances. Cal/OSHA notes that Monkeypox falls under the state’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard. The standard splits employers into three different categories: 1) Referring employees, 2) Laboratories, and 3) All other employers. Referring employers and laboratories are subject to the highest standards. A wide range of employers falls under this standard, including hospitals, health care providers, long-term care facilities, medical transport, and correctional facilities. The latest Cal/OSHA workplace guidance on Monkeypox requires these employers to:
- Implement a written program to reduce the risk of the transmission of Monkeypox;
- Ensure that workers have adequate respiratory protection;
- Ensure that workers have access to the right personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Draft and implement written procedures for Monkeypox exposure incidents; and
- Report any suspected workplace Monkeypox exposure to local health authorities.
Additionally, all employers in California, including those outside the health care sector, should notify their employees if there has been a significant Monkeypox exposure event in the workplace. As an employee, you have a general right to know if there has been a Monkeypox outbreak in your place of work.
With approximately 5,000 cases confirmed in the state as of early October of 2022, the spread of Monkeypox in California is significant. It is possible that people will be exposed to the disease in their workplace. Monkeypox is covered by workers’ compensation. An employee who got Monkeypox while on the job has the right to file for workers’ comp benefits for medical coverage and lost wages. A worker with Monkeypox may be required to quarantine—thereby missing time on the job—for multiple weeks. If Monkeypox exposure is work-related, it is crucial that the affected individual files for the full and fair workers’ compensation benefits that they deserve.
Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top workers’ compensation lawyer. We have the professional and legal expertise to protect the rights and interests of injured workers. Contact us today to set up a fully private consultation with an attorney. We represent injured workers in Fresno and throughout the area, including in Clovis, Chowchilla, Madera, Hanford, Coalinga, and Three Rivers.