Los Angeles County employers are now obligated to provide and require their employees to wear medical-grade masks. This was mandated by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health on January 5, 2022. All employers with employees who work indoors or are in close contact with others and the public must comply with this mandate by January 17, 2022. The order is to ensure that employers continue to provide safe and healthful working conditions to their employees during the present health crisis.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by Congress in 1970 to make sure that employees are in safe and healthful workplaces. OSHA sets and enforces standards that all employers must comply with. OSHA also offers training, outreach, education, and assistance pertaining to workplace safety. It provides guidelines ranging from wages, working hours, workers’ compensation to restroom use and drinking water. Since the inception of OSHA, there has been a significant decrease in work fatalities, injuries, and illness in the workplace or due to working conditions.
With the latest LA County Public Health mandate, employees will be in the right to demand the N95 or KN95 mask if their employer hasn’t done so yet. Employers cannot retaliate against workers if they raise concerns pertaining to their health and safety. You can file a complaint with OSHA if your employer fires you or takes other actions against you. If you fall ill because of your employer’s failure to provide you with the type of mask required by the Department of Public Health, this could constitute negligence on the part of the employer. In this case, an employee can file for workers’ compensation. If you are not eligible to receive or unable to file for workers’ compensation or your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can seek the services of a personal injury attorney and determine what your next steps are.
There are instances when injured workers would rather file for a personal injury claim rather than workers’ compensation. A successful personal injury lawsuit will compensate an employee for medical expenses and more. It may also include compensating the victim for loss of income and damages for pain and suffering. In filing a personal injury lawsuit, it must be proven that the employer was negligent and the negligence caused the employee to fall ill. The injured person will need to show evidence of how the employer failed to meet the duty of care and how that failure directly resulted in the illness suffered by an employee.
If you do fall ill and you think you contracted it from your workplace, the best thing to do is to consult a lawyer who is well-versed in personal injury and workers’ compensation. A lawyer will be able to explain how the law will apply to your situation and can present legal options for seeking compensation.