Four Surprising Places To Find A Worker's Compensation Injury

Most employers expect worker's compensation injuries to occur in the office/warehouse or at a job site. While the majority of injuries do occur in these two places, you'd be surprised at some of the more rare locations. To help you prepare for every possible scenario, here are four surprising places workers have been injured.

  1. At home. If an employee is injured at home, their homeowner's insurance covers them, right? Not necessarily. If your employee is working at home and injures himself during the process, he may be eligible for worker's compensation. This happened to an Oregon woman when she tripped over her dog while trying to access some fabric stored in her garage. Don't assume that you can't be sued for an at-home employee's injury.
  2. At a retreat. Many companies hold outdoor retreats or vacations to help employees relax, bond, and/or provide additional training opportunities. Since the employees aren't actually working, they can't sue for injury on the job, right? Wrong again. An Ohio Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a man who was injured during some roughhousing that occurred at an outdoor team-building event. Be prepared to deal with worker's compensation injuries if you choose to hold company vacations or retreats.
  3. In a hotel room. Do you send employees on business trips? If so, you could be held responsible for any injuries that occur to an employee inside his or her hotel room. In fact, an Australian woman was awarded benefits after an injury sustained while having sex in her hotel room during a business trip. 
  4. In the break room. Break room injuries don't count since the employees are not on the clock, right? Again, this may not be the case. A 90-year-old man earned worker's compensation benefits when he sustained hip injuries while trying to dislodge a bag of chips stuck in the break room vending machine. (To help prevent break room injuries, keep your equipment in good running order at all times.)

Many employers are caught off guard when their employees are awarded worker's compensation for injuries that occur away from the actual workplace. However, if you manage several employees, it is very possible that you will deal with an unusual worker's compensation injury at some point.

Limiting your employee's work-related trips and telecommuting options and teaching safety for all areas of the workplace will help reduce injuries, but purchasing good worker's compensation insurance will keep you covered when the inevitable occurs.

You may also want to talk to a workers compensation attorney at Dunnigan & Messier P.C. or a similar firm.

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