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Determining “work environment” may be complicated

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2019 | Uncategorized

At Worth, Magee & Fisher, P.C., in Pennsylvania, we often hear questions from workers who wonder if the costs associated with their injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. If you have suffered an injury, but you were not at the office at the time, you may not be clear as to whether this qualifies.

The lines can be a little blurred when your accident did not happen in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that the injury must occur in the “work environment.”

Work environment includes the employer’s physical location, but it also includes the use of the materials or equipment that you do your job duties with, even if you are not on the property. So if, for example, you are injured while using a dolly provided by your employer to unload a delivery at a retail store, that would be considered part of the work environment.

When it comes to traveling for work, the situation can become even more complicated, but the general rule is that the injury must occur while you were engaged in a work activity for your employer. OSHA includes these activities as examples:

  • Work-related entertainment involving transactions, discussions or promotions of business or other entertainment activities that the employer directed you to engage in
  • Travel, if you are going to or from a customer contact
  • Job task performance

If you are checked into a hotel, that may be considered a temporary residence. While you are preparing for work as you would at home, eating, showering or grooming, for example, an accident is not likely to be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you are in the hotel room making work phone calls or answering emails, it may be covered.

More information about work-related injuries is available on our webpage.