In Alaska and elsewhere throughout the country, there has been an increase in the number of employees who work from home. Many people enjoy remote employment, saying they like not having to fight commuter traffic every day or that they enjoy not having to get dressed up for work. There may be several downsides to a work-from-home environment, however, including complex workers’ compensation issues that may arise if an injury occurs during work hours.
Questions that may arise if a work-from-home injury occurs
When an employer purchases workers’ comp insurance, he or she is typically also, at the same time, making sure the workplace is compliant with safety codes and regulations. In a case where a remote worker suffers injury, an employer might want to know if his or her at-home office was ergonomically compliant. On the other hand, a worker might ask what the employer did, as far as providing training and equipment, to help improve work-from-home safety.
Longer work hours with less breaks may increase likelihood of injury
State laws govern the number of hours a worker can put in without having a break or lunch time off the clock. When an employee is working from home, he or she is more likely to keep working until a project is done rather than take several 10-minute breaks or a lunch hour. It is logical to assume that, in certain circumstances, such as for a typist, not taking breaks increases the likelihood of injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries that workers who perform repetitive motions often suffer.
Navigating the workers’ compensation system after a work-from-home injury
Even in a typical office working environment, a worker who suffers injury may encounter challenges as he or she navigates the workers’ compensation system. An insurance agency or employer might try to deny a claim, for instance. With the added complexity that a remote office environment adds to the equation, it is a good idea for an employee who has suffered injury to seek legal counsel before filing a claim.