The remote workforce surged with COVID-19, and many companies have adopted new strategies to maintain and expand permanent work-from-home roles. By moving roles out of offices or brick-and-mortar locations and into employees’ homes, questions regarding certain employee benefits and workers’ compensation have naturally arisen.
Are Remote Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
In short, remote workers are usually eligible for workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation varies state-to-state, but most states require workers’ compensation to cover remote workers.
Remote Work-Related Injuries
While remote work-related injuries vary person-to-person, the following injuries are commonly seen:
- Wrist Pain (for example: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
- Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain
- Tight Hips
- Leg Cramps
- Eye Fatigue
Causes for Remote Work-Related Injuries
Remote work-related injuries are typically sustained due to the following:
- Poor posture. Many employees working from home are not doing so from a desk and chair but dining room tables, kitchen tables, couches, and beds. In short, remote employees are more likely to sustain posture-related problems than in-office employees due to a general lack of proper equipment.
- Repetitive stress. The repeated use of a body part causes repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are not sustained in a single incident but rather the build-up of wear and tear over a longer period of time.
- Sitting for prolonged periods. Sitting for long periods of time can damage and/or misalign the spine, leading to neck, shoulder, and back pain, and can also weaken the leg and gluteal muscles. Chronic pain and weakened muscles can lead to further health complications and stability issues.
What are NOT Remote Work-Related Injuries?
Any injuries that an individual sustains in their home while doing something that is not work-related is not considered a remote work-related injury. Here are a few in-home scenarios given by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):
Scenario 1: A remote employee drops a box of work documents and injures their foot.
Scenario 2: A remote employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring.
Scenario 3: A remote employee's fingernail is punctured by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, becomes infected, and requires medical treatment.
Scenario 4: A remote employee is injured because they trip on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call.
Scenarios 1 and 3 are considered work-related. Scenarios 2 and 4 are not considered work-related.
Injured While Working Remotely? We Can Help.
Workers’ compensation claims can be complex, even more so with remote workers’ compensation claims. However, having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side can make a crucial difference in navigating the legal processes and getting the justice you deserve. No matter your needs, you can rely on the team at Glauber Berenson Vego to take care of you.