COVID-19 FAQ's for Employers and Carriers

Guidance for Employers and Insurance Carriers

  1. What should I do if an employee notifies me that they believe they have contracted COVID-19 at work?
  1. Does a worker have to establish a causal connection to the course and scope of employment?  

Yes. Injured workers need to establish their initial claim by making out a prima facie case.  That is done by showing that harm was sustained and could have been caused by employment conditions.  Once an employee makes out a prima facie case, Section 20(a) of the LHWCA aids the employee with a presumption establishing that the injury/illness is work related “in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary.”  The employer/carrier then has the burden to refute the employee’s showing. You could do so by, for example, establishing that the claimant was not exposed to the virus at work or contracted it elsewhere.

  1. Does OWCP have any other specialized guidance regarding COVID-19 and the Longshore Act?

Nothing beyond these FAQs.  Generally, you should treat COVID-19 like any other illness that may be work-related.

  1. What information can the Department of Labor provide? 

On request, we will explain benefits and proceedings under the Act and provide information and technical assistance on the procedures involved in reporting injuries. Call us at 202-513-6809.

  1. How does an employer notify employees what to do if the employee suspects COVID-19 was contracted at work?

All employers should post the LS-241/LS-242, Notice to Employees, in a conspicuous place in and around the place of business so that employees know what to do when injured at work or when a work place illness is suspected. This information must be posted both in English and Spanish or any other widely-used language utilized by employees.

  1. How are employers required to protect employees from COVID-19?

                 You should follow the guidance on how to handle or prevent the spread of the disease provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.       

(CDC coronavirus guidance in Spanish)