All about the workforce at the Statehouse

This bill deals with injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation when sustained by an employee working from home, and it clarifies what is and is not within the employer’s control at the workplace. regard to these workers.

Currently, state law has no way of differentiating injuries sustained by employees at home from those covered by workers’ compensation while a worker is on-site. HB 447 would clarify the types of injuries covered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and, perhaps more importantly, what types of injuries are not an employer’s responsibility even if sustained during working hours. of work.

“What this legislation does, in our view, is provide certainty for employers in the event of an injury to one of their employees who works from home,” said Cameron Garczyk, benefits program manager for the chapter of Ohio National Federation of Independent Business. “The goal is to provide that certainty to employers.”

The NFIB testified in support of the bill, which Garczyk says helps prevent the granting of ‘frivolous claims’ unrelated to an employee’s work – something the group has seen happen in other states.

“This legislation provides a three-part test that basically asks whether the employer could have prevented the injury in any way,” Garczyk said. “An example is an injury sustained, for example, while playing with your dog during a break. This is something that would not be covered because your dog would not have been at work.

HB 447 outlines three criteria that employees working from home must meet to be eligible for workers’ compensation claims by asking these questions: Is the employee’s injury or disability due to the employment of the employee? Has the employee’s employment exposed him to conditions that significantly contributed to the risk of injury or disability? And was the injury or disability sustained in the course of an activity undertaken by the employee for the exclusive benefit of the employer?

An injury sustained, for example, by an employee who tripped over cords connected to a computer used in their work in a home office would qualify under those standards, according to Garczyk. The bill would also recognize long-standing workplace injuries, such as carpal tunnel, for employees working from home, Garczyk said.

“The good thing about this legislation is that it’s proactive,” he said. “It’s ahead of a trend we’re seeing where there’s more and more working from home. We’re trying to be proactive because too often when it comes to legislation we’re reactive.”

The bill made its way through the House in February with a unanimous vote and no opposing testimony. It is now at the Senate Insurance Committee.

Michael A. Bynum