WCB: Documenting exposure to patients or coworkers who are positive for COVID-19

Publish date: Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19

Health and safety

Health care

MNU members

Union news

WCB

Workplace issues/practices

UPDATED: April 21, 2020

MNU is recommending that members who have had exposure to a patient or coworker who has been confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, submit a claim to the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB).

In general, all workers who have been injured at work have a right to submit a claim to the WCB. MNU sees COVID-19 in the same light.

On April 14, 2020, the Manitoba government committed to providing 14-days of paid leave to asymptomatic health care workers required to self-isolate after being exposed to COVID-19 at work. This leave does not change the need for members to continue to document exposure to COVID-19 positive patients/coworkers, and the leave currently does not apply to symptomatic workers. Read MNU’s full statement.

MNU has repeatedly called for presumptive WCB coverage for all health care workers with COVID-19 symptoms. Unfortunately, to date, this measure has not been implemented. Please help us advocate by sending a letter to your elected representatives.

As it stands, according to the WCB website, a COVID-19 claim will be accepted if the WCB determines that an applicant contracted the virus as a result of an exposure arising out of and in the course of employment. However, according to the website, entitlement may or may not require a confirmed diagnosis at this time.

Because of this rapidly changing situation, MNU is recommending that members go ahead and file a claim proactively if they have been exposed to COVID-19 at work. This will ease the process if a claim is pursued and the documentation will assist in the adjudication of the claim. WCB will make a decision from there based on the facts.

To file a claim, MNU is recommending that members take the following steps:

1) Email your manager to let them know that you will be submitting a claim to the WCB for exposure to COVID-19.

2) Ask the manager to email you the appropriate form (depending on the worksite, an Injury/Near Miss Form, an RL6, or another reporting form) so that you can complete and submit it.

3) Document the following in your email to your manager and when in contact with the WCB:
a) The date of the exposure to the patient/coworker(s) that was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19;
b) The work that you performed/patient care provided as well as any direct interaction that you had with the patient/coworker(s) that were confirmed to be positive;
c) Identify any coworkers that you worked with that are aware of your direct contact with this patient; and
d) What personal protective equipment you were wearing (if you were not wearing any PPE, please indicate what, if any PPE was required by the employer at the time of the direct contact).

4) Document any COVID-19 symptoms you are experiencing. While we do not normally suggest this for privacy reasons, this situation is very unique and the information is relevant. If you are not experiencing symptoms, please note that, however, be sure to let your manager and the WCB know if symptoms do develop.
Members may be experiencing psychological stressors at this time of uncertainty. If you are experiencing psychological symptoms due to your exposure to COVID-19 positive patients or coworkers, please inform your managers and the WCB. MNU also recommends that members contact EAP for support.

5) You can call the WCB to report the claim toll free at 1-855-954-4321 or you can go online at wcb.mb.ca to submit the claim.
WCB should provide you with a claim number when you contact them. If they do not, contact your MNU Labour Relations Officer to follow up.

If you are not aware of any direct contact with a confirmed positive patient/coworker but are symptomatic, you can still submit a claim to the WCB. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as an employee, please contact your MNU Labour Relations Officer or Union Representative.

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