Friday March 26th 2021
Occupational disease, accident at work?
Covid-19 caught on the job? Report
Anyone who is infected with the corona virus during their professional activity and falls ill with Covid-19 should report this to the employers’ liability insurance association or the accident insurance company. The Bremen Chamber of Employees recommends this.
In particular, the long-term effects of the disease cannot always be assessed. It is therefore worthwhile for affected employees to seek advice and inform the relevant statutory accident insurance provider.
Affected people can usually receive better benefits here than with statutory health insurance, according to the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). This can include, for example, acute treatment, rehab, injury benefits or an accident pension – if, for example, you have been proven to be permanently suffering from the consequences of Covid 19 disease.
Recognition as an occupational disease
Employees have to distinguish whether they can report the illness as an occupational disease or as an accident at work. Covid-19 is currently only recognized as an occupational disease for employees in the health service, welfare work and in laboratories (occupational disease 3101), as these activities are associated with a high risk of infection.
According to the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV), the same applies to groups of people who were particularly exposed to the risk of infection to a similar extent in their insured activity. Since December 2020, according to the information from the Chamber of Employees, infections among daycare workers such as educators have also been covered by BK 3101.
Prerequisites for recognition as an occupational disease are contact with a proven infected person at work, the appearance of symptoms and a positive PCR test. In the case of occupational diseases, the employers’ liability insurance association for health and welfare services (BG BGW) or the accident insurance company is responsible.
Recognition as an occupational accident
For employees of other professional groups, infection with the corona virus can be recognized as an occupational accident. The prerequisite here is that the infection can be traced back to the occupational activity and that intensive contact with an infectious person has been proven to have taken place. In addition, symptoms of the disease must have appeared.
Even if there is a proven massive outbreak of infection in the company or on the way to work, a professional cause can be recognized, according to the Chamber of Employees. In the end, however, the accident insurance company or the employers’ liability insurance association will decide on a case-by-case basis whether it is an accident at work.
In principle, the treating doctors, employers and health insurance companies are responsible for reporting an occupational disease or an accident at work. But employees themselves can also report their infection to the employers’ liability insurance association or the accident insurance company, for example if the employer refuses to accept an accident report.