Avoiding COVID Liability in 2022

In the United States, over 145 million people have contracted COVID-19. Almost 7.5 million of those cases ended up in hospitalizations, placing added strain on healthcare systems and various businesses. 

With two years in the rearview mirror, you may consider how you can keep employees safe as they return to work. An at-home OTC COVID test is one way you can monitor illnesses, improve workplace safety, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Luckily, we have put together a complete guide on return-to-work policies and how you can avoid liability during this upcoming year, so keep reading for more information!

Return to Work Policies

In 2022, human resources must implement new safety protocols for employees coming back to work or those remaining at home. Here are some key points that will play a vital role in the future of working America:

  • Communication
  • Anti-retaliation
  • Disability and non-discrimination
  • Paid leave

Prevention tactics and transparent policies can help you avoid COVID liability and ensure clear expectations with going back to work. OSHA released general guidelines for workplace exposure to COVID-19. Employers must provide PPE, implement social distancing as needed, and provide updated health protocols.  

Effectively Communicating

Arguably the most critical point on this list is effective employer-to-employee communications. If your work environment accommodates work-from-home and in-person roles, you need to set expectations. For example, if a person works from home, they may be more likely to be contacted regularly via email or telephone. 

Paid or sick leave must be explicit, including scheduled meal breaks and rest. Human resources and employers can also track work time in the office and at home. 

Retaliation Claims

Paid leave and an unsafe work environment are two primary causes of unlawful retaliation claims. How can employers avoid this? Appoint individuals who manage paid leave requests and work environment concerns. 

If someone raises a public health concern in the workplace, you should immediately address it and be open regarding vaccination, testing, and PPE policies. At the end of 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed this concern.

They did not outright address retaliation claims for COVID-19. Instead, they listed guidelines regarding:

  • Protected activity
  • Protected people
  • Standard for retaliation
  • Employer disciplinary action

This ultimately describes that COVID testing and mandates cannot discriminate based on gender, sex, race, disability, and more. 

Disability and Non-discrimination

Going back to work has created new challenges for those who have complaints about a disability that puts them at high risk of contracting COVID-19. This area becomes a bit challenging since enforcing work-from-home mandates for older employees or those with pre-existing conditions violates EEOC policies. 

Issues can also arise with COVID-19 vaccines and employees who refuse based on medical conditions. Ultimately, this ropes back into the first point – document and clearly communicate. You should expect some flexibility with ‘return to work’ standards and ensure that each employee has equal opportunities.

Paid Leave

Paid leave includes sick time, vacation, FMLA, and ADA accommodations. Employees are not expected to answer phone calls or work emails during paid leave. Continue setting clear standards regarding paid leave and implement policies that protect an employee’s time off. 

If you opt for a hybrid work-from-home and in-office set-up, provide clear documentation if an employee chooses to work from home while sick. 

Best At-Home OTC COVID Test

When you are undertaking COVID prevention tactics to keep your employees safe, it starts with finding the best at-home OTC COVID test. These are used for employees returning from sick leave or as a general screening to help protect your workers. While considered ‘at-home,’ these COVID tests are primarily useful for rapid results that don’t require a professional.

Most tests operate similarly with user-friendly designs, but they differ in cost and reliability. There are six main antigen tests you can use at work or home:

  • BinaxNow
  • Lucira
  • QuickVue
  • FlowFlex
  • CareStart
  • iHealth

Two of the more common ones are Quickvue and BinaxNOW, but CareStart and iHealth are two other options that have also received FDA approval for home use. Which one has the best positive and negative accuracy?

FlowFlex boasts an impressive 93% positivity rate than BinaxNow, which falls slightly shorter at 84.6%. FlowFlex also has the highest negative test accuracy with 100%, but most tests are in the high 90% range. 

The downside of FlowFlex is that it only provides one test per kit. If you want the cheapest testing kit, FlowFlex continues to blow competitors out of the water with an affordable price of $9.99. Remember that brands like BinaxNOW provide you with two tests at just under $32. 

How To Use COVID Test

Most COVID tests are simple to use and give you results within 10 to 15 minutes. FlowFlex has the option of providing an oral swab, which works well for some individuals adverse to nasal swabs. However, it is typically less accurate and more beneficial for children. 

In general, tests require that you gently swab each nasal canal and mix it with a vial of fluid. Tests come equipped with markers that indicate positive, negative, or invalid results. Each test has an instruction manual, which you should read beforehand since user error can alter test results. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should store these tests in a work area that is cool and dry. Leave the tests unopened until you are ready to use them for return-to-work purposes. 

Safely Returning to Work

An at-home OTC COVID test can help your employees return to work safely. It also allows you to regularly test employees, which helps prevent outbreaks and the spread of this virus. At Peach Medical Sourcing, we offer bulk orders for at-home OTC COVID tests and on-site testing for businesses that are reopening. 

What are you waiting for? Start preparing now for back-to-work protocols, and contact peach medical today for help filling your first order!


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