Am I still covered by workers compensation insurance when I am working from home?
Since 1926 all workers in New South Wales have been covered by a workers compensation scheme. It provides, in simple terms, that all workers are covered for injuries sustained during the course of or arising out of their employment.
If a worker was injured during the course of their employment, then the worker would be covered for workers compensation benefits no matter where the injury occurred. That is, geography was not strictly relevant.
Under the current COVID-19 restrictions there would be many workers either choosing to work from home or instructed required to do so by their employers. In those circumstances the home becomes their workplace. Therefore, the cover provided by the workers compensation legislation would extend to a worker working from home.
Not all injuries occurring at home will of course be covered by the workers compensation insurer. It is those injuries which have some connection to the employment that will be covered. For example, if a worker suffers a repetitive strain injury as a result of overuse from long hours of data entry, then they will be covered by the employer’s workers compensation insurer. On the other hand, if a worker suffers injury as a result of a fall which occurs at home long after the usual hours of employment have ceased, then in all likelihood that worker will not be covered.
A number of cases have been litigated which disclose that the courts will take a fairly liberal view in determining whether an injury at home arises out of or occurs in the course of a worker’s employment. Simply put, the test is whether or not the injury suffered by the worker is of a kind or occurred in circumstances which would have been covered had the injury occurred at work. For example, a worker suffering injury as a result of a fall whilst going to make a cup of tea or coffee would be seen as incidental to the worker’s employment duties and therefore covered by the workers compensation insurer, whether the injury occurred at work or at home.
Employers should also note that the common law duty of care that is owed to employees, often referred to as the highest duty of care that exists, extends to the employee when working from home. The employer must ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the health and safety of the employee working from home. This may mean, for example, the employer attending the employee’s home to ensure that it is a fit and proper place for the employee to undertake their employment duties. A failure by an employer to comply with its duty of care with the result that the worker suffers a serious injury may expose the employer to common law liability for damages.
Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the prosecution of and advising in connection to all workers compensation claims. If you have suffered injury arising out of or occurring during the course of your employment, then contact Brydens Lawyers today for a no obligation consultation with one of our expert lawyers. Strict time limits may apply with respect to some workers compensation claims. Accordingly, don’t delay – contact Brydens Lawyers today on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au.
At Brydens Lawyers – #WE DO workers compensation claims.