As the notion of a workplace continues to change and evolve due to technology, remote services and flexible working arrangements, it is important to know what happens when you injure yourself while working whether you’re in a traditional workplace or not.
Any injury that arises out of, and in the course of, employment is considered a worker’s compensation injury. This is true even if the employee is working from home.
While it might seem difficult to prove that an injury at home occurred during the course of employment, the same rules of evidence apply.
To determine if an injury that occurred at home falls within the scope of an employee’s employment, evidence such as the process of reporting the injury and medical evidence of the injury will be used to make a legal determination.
Duty of care – employers
The duty of care that extends to all employees in the workplace extends to those who work from home. That duty of care includes the following:
- An employer is responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment.
- In the traditional office environment, the employer is responsible for complying with all safety regulations for the work space, for providing a safe and healthy work environment and for known procedures for reporting work injuries as soon as possible to the company. These same requirements apply to a home-based employee. While it might be more difficult for the employer to assure the safety of a home-working environment, it is possible for some precautions to be taken.
- Employers should encourage employees to survey their home working environment and assess the following areas of possible concern:
- Objects that are obstructing the walk areas.
- Complete a work safety home survey.
- Remove any clutter in and around the work area.
- Make sure all electrical outlets that allow for work electronics are in good working condition.
- Remain in contact with supervisors or management if their work load is causing excessive stress, or if they are experiencing any discord in their work relationships.
Employers should speak with their insurance companies regarding the best way for in-home, work-related injuries to be reported. If recommended by their insurance company, employers should create a separate and distinct policy for the reporting of in-home accidents, including stress claims.
As the work place moves rapidly toward an increase in the number of employees working from home, it is important that both employers and employees to discuss in-home work safety, and review the procedures for reporting home-based, work-related injuries.
It is also important for employees to be vigilant around their home, and do their part to ensure that their work space is safe and healthy.
This article is from Owen Hodge Lawyers.