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Workers who are at least 50 years old have experienced the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic differently than younger employees. Although employees of all ages have faced concerns and difficulties due to the pandemic, older workers are more vulnerable. According to recent studies, more than 18 million employees 50 years old and older are at risk of experiencing some kind of medical, occupational, or financial hardship directly linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 tends to affect older workers more severely than younger employees. A senior worker is statistically more likely to have serious or life-threatening, symptoms, like respiratory damage, after developing COVID-19.
Another factor that puts older workers at risk is that a higher proportion of workers over 50 years old hold jobs in occupations that require close contact with colleagues and the public. Such occupations include health care and transportation positions, such as a health assistants who works in assisted living facilities, or truck drivers who encounter many different people.
Although acquiring COVID-19 is a serious risk in a traditional office, plant, factory, restaurant, or retail location, other dangers can seriously affect older workers. Older employees are vulnerable to economic hardships.
In addition to being more apt to present severe symptoms of COVID-19, older Americans are being laid off in elevated rates. In many cases, older workers may receive higher salaries, and a company that has lost significant revenue may furlough older workers with large earning rates. This is a form of age discrimination, and companies could face legal penalties, such as paying compensation for lost wages and other damages. However, some companies still try to eliminate older workers to cut costs.
Often, unemployed seniors have difficulties getting jobs. Getting rehired, even with a good resume and work history, can be very challenging for an elderly citizen. Many employers discriminate against older workers because of their high salaries. Also, many companies feel that older workers cannot handle technology at work.
In some cases, older workers are staying home instead of going to work because they fear they will contract COVID-19. Although telecommuting may be an option for some people who are 50 years old and older, many seniors cannot work virtually. Therefore, an older worker may quit their job because they do not want to put themselves at risk.
Older workers can take proactive steps to care for themselves. Workers need to stand up for their rights and work remotely if it is possible. An older employee should feel confident in asking their employer to make fair and reasonable accommodations, such as allowing telework. Since the upsurge of COVID-19 cases, many corporations have become more flexible about accommodations.
Senior workers should continue to be mindful about their health. Even if they are facing unemployment, they should receive medical treatment if they need to. An older employee who believes that they were exposed to COVID-19 may wish to get a free test at a nearby location. Early diagnosis is critical when treating COVID-19, and it can reduce the transmission rate of the virus as well.
Companies can help elderly employees avoid contracting COVID-18 by providing safe workplaces. Additionally, an employer should try to accommodate older workers. For instance, employers should be openminded to transforming job positions so that employees can work from home.
Employers can also provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, wipes, and shields to reduce the spread of any bacteria or viruses. A company should also train workers on how to reduce the risk of acquiring COVID-19.
What happens if an older worker develops COVID-19? Although Workers’ Compensation covers some occupational illnesses, COVID-19 may not be considered a work-related illness in Delaware. Many lawyers and employee advocates are motioning to make COVID-19 covered by Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Since laws are evolving because of the pandemic, it is important that a sick worker still speaks to a lawyer about their options. A respected lawyer will be able to evaluate a worker’s case and determine the best course of action.
If you contracted COVID-19 at work, you should speak to a lawyer about your options. Our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow protect the rights of injured and sick senior workers. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
Workers are falling ill, some even dying, after being subjected to silica dust while making kitchen and bathroom countertops. There is a new fear that thousands of workers in the United States who make countertops from engineered stone are breathing in dangerous amounts of lung damaging silica dust.
Silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. It also causes a condition called silicosis, which occurs when silica dust enters an individual’s lungs and causes scar tissue to form. This reduces the lungs ability to take in oxygen. Silicosis can be classified as chronic or classic silicosis, accelerated silicosis, and acute silicosis. These three categories are defined by:
There is no cure for silicosis. Treatment consists of managing the symptoms, and in severe cases, a lung transplant.
Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone that is bound together by an adhesive. It contains around 90 percent silica. Cutting this type of stone releases the dangerous silica dust.
Engineered stone is now a popular choice for countertops because it is less likely to crack or stain. Engineered stone holds no danger to individuals once the countertops are installed in homes or businesses; however, it is highly dangerous for the employees responsible for cutting the stone for clients.
Silica is dangerous to employees in high risk jobs, such as:
If you work in a job that requires you to be around silica dust, your employer is required by law to protect you. Here are a few things employers can do to protect employees from developing an occupational illness caused by silica dust:
Controlling the silica dust can lower employees’ risk of developing lung disease. There are a variety of proven methods, including cutting the stone while it is still wet, and using a vacuum or infiltration system that removes the silica dust from the air. Even with precautions, workers can still develop a work-related illness. If you are a worker that has become ill due to being exposed to silica dust at work, an experienced lawyer will determine if you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
If you have sustained a work-related injury or illness, contact one of our Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow immediately. Our experienced lawyers will fight hard for your rights. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-422-6705. Located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
Silica is a common, naturally occurring material found in sand, granite, and soil, and is used in a variety of building materials, such as glass, concrete, and masonry. As substances containing silica are chipped or chiseled away, small particles of silica dust are released into the air. In recent decades, we have learned people who inhale silica dust are at a significant risk of respiratory problems and chronic lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer.
Workers in construction and other building trades are especially vulnerable to silica-related health problems because of their prolonged exposure to this substance. Many seek compensation for the serious and preventable health conditions that impact their quality of life.
Because we now understand the risks to workers exposed to silica dust in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, mining, and other industries, the federal government has strict safety standards in place to protect workers. In addition to limits on the acceptable silica dust levels in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to:
Employers who fail to adhere to OSHA’s safety requirements may be liable in a claim for silica exposure damages.
Workers suffering from silicosis or other chronic illnesses caused by silica exposure generally have three options to seek compensation for the medical expenses incurred as a result of their loss of income when they are physically unable to work.
If you have been exposed to silica dust and have concerns about the risk for disease or have already been diagnosed with health conditions caused by toxic exposure, it is time to contact an experienced attorney. A Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyer reviews your situation, explains your legal options, and helps you take the first step to recover compensation for your preventable condition.
While silica is an important resource used in ways that benefit our everyday lives, workers who are not protected from inhaling its dust have a significant risk of contracting serious, incurable diseases. If your employer failed to protect you from silica exposure, the Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow assist with the financial impact a serious illness can cause. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly represent workers throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.