The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions have forced many businesses to allow employees to work from home. The longer these restrictions are in place, the more employers may adopt remote work and continue to allow working from home after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Working from home may be an important risk mitigation strategy to limit the spread of the virus.
While working from home has many advantages, there are also risks. Even though workers are at home, they could still suffer injuries, which raises questions about workers’ compensation liability.
There are a few common injury risks for employees who are working from home. For example, home offices and workspaces are not always ergonomically safe, which can lead to back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and other problems. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly one-third of money spent on workers’ compensation comes from claims over ergonomic injuries.
Employers should review the risks of at-home work as they have much less control over the environment.
Fortunately, there are things employers can do to help ensure employees’ work environments are ergonomically safe, such as supplying ergonomic keyboards, mousepads and office chairs.
Another work injury risk for remote workers is not sticking to the regular schedule. Instead of taking a one-hour lunch break and working for a total of eight hours, employees may just push through eight straight hours. This can lead to fatigue, back pain and other injuries related to sitting in a chair for hours on end.
Over time, working eight hours in a row could cause musculoskeletal problems – these issues result in $50 billion per year in workers’ compensation claims, according to OSHA.
Remote workers are eligible for the same benefits as office workers if they suffer on-the-job injuries. Generally, courts rule in favor of employees if they suffer an injury while working from home, according to Todd Pollock, senior vice president of workers’ comp at Worldwide Facilities.
Have You Suffered an Injury While Working at Home? Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
Our Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyers have helped many injured employees recover workers’ compensation benefits. We have extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, including the appeals process if a claim is denied.
You can contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation to ask questions about your claim. There are no upfront fees for our services. We are not paid for providing legal representation unless we obtain benefits.
Learn more about how we may be able to help you. Call: (717) 888-8888.