Injured While Working at Home (Telecommuting)

Question:
An employee is working from home during a pandemic after the governor declared a state of emergency. After sitting on their couch at home for a week with a laptop on their lap, the employee develops pain in their lower back. They visit the doctor and are prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine. Is it recordable?

Answer:
YES. It is recordable because the employee was working from home and the incident was caused by work-related activities.

1904.5(b)(7) How do I decide if a case is work-related when the employee is working at home? Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home, including work in a home office, will be considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting. For example, if an employee drops a box of work documents and injures his or her foot, the case is considered work-related. If an 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, the injury is considered work-related. If an employee is injured because he or she trips on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case is not considered work-related. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury is not considered work-related.

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