COVID 19 and WorkSafeBC Claims

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When is Covid- 19 a workplace injury?

According to WSBC,  if a worker  contracts COVID-19 as a direct result of their employment, they may be entitled to compensation, if there is evidence of a medical diagnosis or  non-medical factual evidence and if the nature of their work created a greater risk than normal exposure via the general population. 

Employers are still expected to file reports during this time, including suspected COVID 19 claims, which will  be adjudicated accordingly.  

What happens with a GRTW and self isolation?

WSBC has advised that the GRTW would proceed, as if the worker was in attendance. WSBC would pay for the days in treatment and the employer could pay for the days the worker was expected at work, or the worker could collect EI.  A revised GRTW would need to be provided to the employer, for approval.  *WSBC is currently considering if, relief of costs may be applied for that period of isolation, to avoid unfairness to the employer.

What happens when the Treatment Provider is closed?

At this time,  WorkSafeBC has advised they would continue to pay wage loss, if the worker is still considered temporarily disabled. However, further discussion is highly recommended  with the Case Manager.

Does WSBC cover worker's who are sent home due to symptoms?

WorkSafeBC has advised that they do not offer coverage for workers who have been sent home by their employer to self-isolate due to symptoms.

What if a Worker recovers, but can't return to work due to symptoms?

According to WSBC, If a worker has recovered from their injury, they are not entitled to further wage-loss benefits.

What if an Employer shuts down while a worker is still on a WSBC Claim?

WorkSafeBC has currently advised they would continue to pay for loss of wages, in the event that the employer is unable to pay the worker's wages during the shut down. Until a time, that medical evidence supports that the worker has recovered, or work has resumed.  Claims Management is still crucial at this time to ensure best possible outcomes for all.

Will the Review Division extend deadlines?

The Chief Review Officer has currently advised, extensions of time may be granted under section 96.2(4) of the Act, to extend the 90 day and 45 day time limits where there are special circumstances surrounding Covid-19.  In addition, due to the complexity of the proceedings, there may also be an extension of time on the review itself, with is typically 150 days.

Can Employers Defer their Q1 2020 Premiums?

WSBC has currently advised that Employers can defer their Q1 2020 premiums, due in April by three months (June 2020.)  This only refers to  employers who report payroll and make payments on a quarterly basis, as well as Personal Optional Protection (POP) coverage holders. Confer with Employer Services to ensure accurate balance and clearance is not impacted by deferring payment.

Is the First Aid Attendant still qualified to administer 1st Aid, if their certificate expires?

WSBC has advised that they will be granting extensions for 90 days beyond the original expiry date of March 1, 2020  to June 30, 2020.    

What is the role of the Prime Contractor regarding Covid-19?

Prime contractors must adhere to the B.C.'s Public Health Officer directive of: Reducing the number of people on site, social distancing of two metres apart, increasing hand-washing stations.  In addition,  to ensuring compliance with OHS and WCA Act. 

Can Worker's Refuse work?

Worker's may refuse to work if they believe it presents an undue hazard, which Employers would then investigate and ensure that corrective action was taken, without delay.  Employers can also refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Guideline G3.12.

Is Social Distancing Enough?

Limiting worker's exposure to Covid-19 is crucial for Employer's by maintaining distance amongst staff, but also ensuring preventative measures are also in place through proper hand washing techniques and supplying hand sanitizers on site to assist with preventing the spread.  If staff are working from home, ensure that there is a policy in place that addresses health and safety for the home office.