In light of Maryland’s stay-at-home orders, several workers have transitioned to working from home, including teachers and office workers.
Even though one’s home is familiar, the risk of an injury still exists, and workers must be careful.
Can workers collect workers’ compensation while working from home?
The details can be complex, but legal precedent in Maryland does allow workers to recover workers’ compensation when they work from home.
In the case of Schwan Food Co. v. Frederick, the Court of Appeals determined that workers could collect compensation for injuries sustained while working remotely depending on several factors, including how often they worked from home, the circumstances of their employment and if they had work equipment in their home. The injury must still arise out of and in the course of one’s employment as well for workers’ compensation laws to cover the work-related injury.
Essential safety tips for working from home
While workers may be covered while working from home, they must still take great care to avoid an injury. So, here are some tips for workers to ensure they are safe while on the job – even when they are working from home:
- Ergonomics is everything: Most workplaces, from factory floors to cubicles, are often well-equipped with ergonomic equipment. Not many people have such equipment in their homes. Workers should consider setting up an ergonomic workstation to maintain good posture and take measures to prevent pain or injury while working. This can help prevent muscle strains, back injuries and neck injuries.
- Be aware of surroundings: Federal and state laws hold workplaces to high standards to prevent serious accidents – such as slip and fall accidents – but homes do not have to meet these same standards. Whether there are computer cords or other items on the floor, workers should be aware of hazards in their environment even while at home to avoid an injury.
- Take regular breaks: When working from home, it is easy to overlook taking lunch breaks or any other breaks one might regularly take while in the workplace. It is also easier for workers to work longer or irregular hours when at home. However, avoiding regular breaks can lead to burnout, which can have a significant effect on one’s mental and physical health.
Working from home might not seem dangerous, but that does not mean that workers should overlook potential risks – or their health.