Workers' compensation laws protect workers when they're injured on the job, no matter who was at fault. The laws are meant to protect the employer from lawsuits and protect the employee from having to fight their employer for compensation.
But what about if you work from home?
Mobile or off-site work has become extremely popular in recent years, but the laws surrounding on-the-job injuries can be complicated.
If you're injured while working from home, it can sometimes be hard to prove the home office injury was job-related. It's not the same as in the office, where tripping on a stair automatically counts as an on-the-job injury because it occurred on-site. In an office, there's no other reason for you to be there except work. At home, work is only one of a thousand things you do in the building every day.
To protect yourself in case of a work-related injury, take these precautions:
1. Make sure your workspace is located in a special, designated part of your home. A separate room is ideal, but a corner of a room can work if you have less space.
2. Keep the area clean and free of clutter, loose cords, etc. It's better not to be injured at all than to deal with workers' comp issues. Schedule a regular safety inspection where you look over the space and make sure it's protected against fire, power surges, and other unexpected problems.
3. Take regular breaks. If you have children around they'll help by interrupting you! But if you don't have children, it can be hard to remember. Office employees take time to talk with each other, grab a glass of water, and even leave their space for a 15-min break. You should do the same for the health of your back, eyes, and wrists.
4. Offer for your employer to inspect the work space. The employer may need to do so for workers' compensation purposes, and it helps to be open and honest with them about where you're working and why it's a safe space. If it isn't a safe space, they may have serious concerns; but frankly, so should you.
5. Don't forget other types of safety issues like online security and crime. Home offices can be a target for theft, and internet security can often fall to the wayside without a regular IT person on call. Don't leave your doors unlocked in real life, or over the internet. Make sure you have everything you need to keep both areas clear of criminals, and let your employer know if that's a problem.
If you've been injured on the job, our Kansas City workers' comp lawyers can help. It's free to come talk with us about your situation, so contact us today to get started.