Dear Blue Collar,
An outbreak occurred in our office. Several WCB claims have followed, and meanwhile, we’re working remotely until further notice. I’m especially worried about two senior age workers who tested positive. They both have asthma and are borderline obese. Above all our first concern is their full recovery. The second concern relates to our already expensive premiums, and what happens if these workers develop long-term complications. Thoughts?
(A): The short answer is that the Board adheres to the ‘thin skull’ doctrine, meaning that preexisting conditions, predisposition to illness, and/or concurrent health conditions impose no limitation on the payment of benefits. In other words, one must, as WCB has declared, take workers as one finds them, thin skull or not.
In your case, should the employees be off work for an extended period, or if permanent clinical impairments ensue (e.g. pulmonary scarring), your employer account will bear the brunt. But in those cases where recoveries are prolonged, or disabilities become long-term due to the aforementioned aggravation factors, opportunities for cost relief often emerge. Consider seeking the counsel of an experienced WCB consultant if worst comes to worst.