Many company owners and principals are wondering about the risk of lawsuits from the COVID-19 pandemic and whether operating their offices will expose them to legal liabilities if employees contract the coronavirus at work. Some US Senators have proposed a liability shield that would offer significant legal protections for companies and organizations if they comply with applicable public health guidance, however, no federal immunity laws have been enacted as of this writing, which means that businesses and organizations can get sued and state laws shall govern. Unfortunately, many companies need to weigh the risks of not opening and the risks of getting sued if they do, and in most cases, the best course of action will be to open in a safe way by introducing new cleaning and sanitization protocols to minimize the risks of viral transmissions, employee illness, and related lawsuits.
Some of these risk management strategies include:
1. Following state and local rules about COVID-19 and complying with them. This may cover requirements for maximum capacity and time restrictions, wearing masks, social distancing, quarantining, and protocols for responding to an employee incident.
2. Following a comprehensive cleaning program and making sure appropriate chemicals that can combat coronaviruses are part of the program. In addition, using advanced cleaning equipment and technology such as electrostatic cleaning machines can more effectively combat COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.
3. Maintaining records that show you have implemented a comprehensive cleaning program, including the scope of work, frequency, and qualifications of the workforce. This may be easier when using a professional cleaning services company, however, if you are using in-house staff make sure you have trained them in cleaning procedures and techniques.
While there is still much uncertainty about the COVID pandemic, there is certainly around how you can minimize the risks of viral transmissions, employee illness, and related lawsuits when operating your business to ensure customers and employees enjoy a clean, comfortable, and safe space.