The pandemic has caused many workforces to send employees to work from home. As we begin the journey back to normal working conditions, many offices have decided to allow continued working from home or a hybrid model. With fewer employees coming into the office, you may wonder how this affects your workers’ compensation policy. Do you need to maintain it for remote workers?
The answer is yes.
On-the-job injuries are covered by workers’ compensation
Your workers’ compensation policy covers remote workers when an injury or illness occurs while they’re completing tasks related to their job during work hours. The difficulty lies in proving the illness or injury occurred as the result of work or during work hours, especially if there was no one there to witness what happened. The employee must be able to provide proof of this. The fact is that even though you as the employer don’t have control over the working conditions of your remote employees, you’re still responsible for providing a safe work environment while they’re on the clock.
Common types of workers’ comp claims from home
So what types of workers’ comp claims might you expect to receive from your remote workers? Common injuries include:
- Ergonomic injuries. Also called “cumulative injuries,” these result from repetitive movements without the use of ergonomically sound equipment. It often affects tendons, nerves and muscles. Common ergonomic injuries include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and back pain. These can be avoided through an ergonomic workstation and equipment that helps protect muscles, nerves and joints, such as a keyboard wrist rest. Employees can also make adjustments to their workstations to avoid injuries, like monitor set up and desk chair adjustments.
- Slips, trip and falls. As an employee moves through their home, objects (such as children’s toys) and conditions (such as spills) can lead to falls. And if these falls occur while they’re on the clock, they are eligible for workers’ compensation. This can also include times of the day when the employee isn’t necessarily working, but they’re engaging in activities for personal comfort, such as eating lunch or using the bathroom.
What to do if a claim is submitted
If a remote or hybrid worker submits a workers’ compensation claim, it’s up to you as their employer to report it to your workers’ comp carrier. Then, it’s their responsibility to investigate how the injury or illness happened to determine if it qualifies for coverage. The employee will need to take photos of the injury, as well as the site where it occurred. The information you’re able to present to the carrier, the easier it will be to assess the claim.
Work with Odell Studner
When it comes to your workers’ compensation needs, you can rely on Odell Studner. We’ll work with you to assess your risks and establish the insurance coverage you need to manage those risks. To learn more, contact us today!