Many businesses that shuttered at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to reopen in Wisconsin. While many workers are eager to be back on the job, you may have concerns about being close to coworkers for eight hours each day.

Granted, you need to put food on your family’s table and be able to pay your bills each month. Yet you may wonder whether putting you and your family’s health – and your lives – at risk to do so is worth it.

Precautions and dangers

Your safety on the job depends on the precautions your employer is taking against COVID-19. Wisconsin lawmakers have issued a mask mandate that requires face coverings in most public places. Among these places are businesses.

Certain exceptions to the mask mandate apply, though, and your job may be among those where a face covering would pose safety risks, based on state regulations. The state has also encouraged employers to regularly disinfect workspaces and practice physical distancing.

Your employer may flout the state’s mask mandate and fail to take other crucial precautions against COVID-19. In this case, you will want to address your health and safety concerns with them. You also have the option of filing a complaint through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Under OSHA rules, your employer cannot retaliate against you for your complaint.

Workers’ compensation and COVID-19

If you contract COVID-19 after returning to work, you may want to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. To receive benefits in Wisconsin, you must have proof that circumstances related to your employment led to your illness. A positive COVID-19 test may support your claim, as could a physician’s specific diagnosis.