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State Accident Insurance Fund creates Coronavirus Worker Safety Fund to make workplaces safer, respond to economic impacts on workers due to pandemic

Oregon's workers' compensation insurance company has launched a program to help businesses pay for making workplaces safer amid the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus Worker Safety Fund created by SAIF (State Accident Insurance Fund) has two simple goals: make workplaces safer and respond to the severe economic impacts the pandemic has had on workers. To that end, SAIF has set aside $10 million to "support employee safety, reduce injuries and decrease exposures by helping businesses impacted by the coronavirus," a release said Monday, April 6. More than 53,000 SAIF policyholders across the state are eligible to receive funds.

"Our vision is to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work," Kerry Barnett, SAIF president and CEO, said in the release. "That has never been more important than now."

The fund may be used in myriad ways to make workplaces safer, including purchasing worksite cleaning and disinfection supplies, resources to re-open businesses after a virus-related closure, redesigning or modifying workspaces to encourage social distancing, as well as funding for mental health and wellness treatment.

Expenses incurred by businesses after March 1 will be considered. An application, along with details about the fund, may be found at http://www, The agency will continue accepting submissions until the fund is exhausted or no longer needed.

"Our goal is to respond quickly to help businesses in this time of greatest need, and we will continue to look at the need for this type of assistance and how we can best support Oregon's businesses and workers," Barnett said.

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