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Ask the Experts: What are the WC Considerations of Working from Home?

Q: Is an injury at home considered eligible for workers’ compensation?

A: It depends. Similar to an injury at your workplace, the compensability is established only when the injury is work related. If an employee injured themself at home, was it in the course and scope of their job duty? Did it happen during the normal business hours and in the designated work area?

These are only a couple out of many other considerations, so it is critical that the employee and their supervisor gather information before considering filing a claim.

Q: How can we minimize workers’ compensation risk for employees that telecommute?

A: Implementing a telecommuting policy or plan is a good start. The plan would address a number of risk factors and offer corresponding best practices to any employee who telecommutes occasionally or frequently. A few examples:

  • Assist with scheduling work hours and designating a work area
  • Re-design workflows to adapt to time and staffing variables created by telecommuting
  • If an employee is required to leave home for business, ask them to plan the trip in advance to avoid unexpected disruption
  • Assist employees with home ergonomics and lighting. If you need help with this, refer to the companion article on page 17
  • Make sure the designated work area has a functional ventilation system and is equipped with a smoke detector.
  • Every employee should ensure their home has a first aid kit and charged fire extinguisher ready
  • Survey telecommuting employees periodically to ensure they have everything they need including office supplies and equipment
  • Refresh personnel, data privacy, and workers’ compensation procedures, such as claims filing and designated medical provider notification

Q: One employee works remotely in another state. Do we have workers’ compensation coverage for him?

A: If you have employees who reside outside Colorado, don’t assume the coverage is automatically extended. Coverage depends on where the employee is located and if it is a permanent arrangement. If you have an employee leaving the state while working, we encourage you to contact us for a coverage opinion.

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