Workers Compensation from Work from Home Injury

14 06 2011

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently reversed a lower Court decision denying workers compensation coverage to an employee inured during the course of working from home. This decision is really important to consider as more employers engage in work from home and telecommuting. A link to the Court decision is pasted below. Some key language the Court of Appeals used was that “If an employer, for its own advantage, demands that a worker furnish the work premises, the risks of those premises encountered in connection with the performance of work are risks of the work environment, even if they are outside of the employer’s control, and injuries resulting from those risks arise out of the employment”. The full update from Portland area employment law firm Sussman Shank is pasted below.

Full Court decision:

http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A140276.htm

The June issue of HR magazine also covers the issue of telecommuting further. The article mostly focuses on costs and benefits of telecommuting and not the possible safety issues.

http://www.shrm.org/Publications/hrmagazine/EditorialContent/2011/0611/Pages/0611meinert.aspx

Sussman Shank eAlert: Dog Trips Employer:

“In a recent Oregon Court of Appeals case, an employee challenged the denial of workers’ compensation coverage for an injury she sustained when she tripped over her dog on the way from her house to her garage. The employee worked as an interior designer and traveled by van to customers’ homes to sell decorating products (draperies, window treatments, and upholstery). The employee worked from her employer’s premises one day per week, but because the employer did not have adequate space for the employee to perform all of her work tasks on-site, the employee was required – as a condition of her employment – to work from her home, and to store fabric samples and materials provided by her employer for her job, in her garage.
In order to be compensable, an injury must arise out of, and occur in the course of, an employee’s employment. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) found that the employee’s injury was not covered because it did not “arise out of her employment.” On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the WCB and found that: “if an employer, for its own advantage, demands that a worker furnish the work premises, the risks of those premises encountered in connection with the performance of work are risks of the work environment, even if they are outside of the employer’s control, and injuries resulting from those risks arise out of the employment.” The court concluded that because the employee “was where she was, doing what she was, because of the requirements of her employment,” her injury arose out of her employment, and remanded the case for reconsideration. http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A140276.htm

Employers need to be aware that work-related injuries do not have to occur at work to be covered, and that the location of the occurrence will not necessarily determine coverage.”

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Good Stress Versus Bad Stress

8 06 2011

Stress is not always a bad thing. Stress is actually abroad term that applies to the range of our bodies natural physiological reactions to different kinds of pressure. “Eustress” is a pleasant or curative stress that contributes to interest, excitement and preserves attention in your life. Examples of eustress would be a fast paced activity that keeps you motivated or keeps you focused. A good example might be a roller coaster ride, unless you are scared of heights! There would be much less enjoyment in our in our work days and leisure time without positive stress. “Distress” on the other hand is the bad stress that is destructive to physical and mental well being. After too much distress or negative stress, from the repeated alarm reaction, our bodies and minds experience exhaustion. Nearly every part of your body is affected by negative stress. A state of exhaustion weakens your immune system, healing, cognitive abilities and increases allergies, inflammation and a host of other unfortunate symptoms.

 Stress comes in various stages. The first stage of stress is the alarm reaction where the body readies for an immediate response. While in the alarm reaction state, the body actives the endocrine system to prepare for a sudden fight or flight response. In the second stage of stress, the body attempts to return to a state of balance. The third stage, exhaustion occurs when the body experiences repeated alarm reactions. Our bodies and minds do not preform at their best when they are recovering from a constant state of negative stress related exhaustion.

 Fortunately you have a variety of techniques to reduce negative stress or distress. Some people use controlled breathing or meditation to reduce the effects of negative stress. If you are experiencing negative stress in the workplace, you might check out your employee assistance, counseling or wellness program. Many employers and benefits programs are instituting or creating wellness programs. If your workplace does not have any of these services, you should contact a human resources representative.








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