Workers’ Compensation Cases Are Falling Despite Remote Worker Injuries
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it was predicted that workers’ compensation claims from work-from-home injuries would rise. They haven’t, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all is well.
Remote workers are suffering from various medical conditions due to informal work-from-home setups. Workers are using couches and beds as their desks, resulting in increased musculoskeletal injuries. Keyboards and chairs, if used, are at improper heights, resulting in eye strain, ear fatigue, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back.
But why aren’t remote workers reporting these injuries? Because many employees aren’t sure about what constitutes a workers’ compensation claim when working from home. The guidelines aren’t exactly clear, especially when an injury like back and neck pain happens over time and is not isolated to a one-off occurrence.
Another issue is that workers don’t want to get their employers involved. Many are enjoying the ability to work from home and avoid the daily commute. They don’t want to do anything to jeopardize this new way of life, so they avoid making waves. If they file a workers’ compensation claim now that they’re working from home, they fear a forced return to work by their employers.
The good news is that many employers become well aware of the increased possibility of musculoskeletal problems early on in the pandemic when they first started allowing employees to work from home. They caught on quickly, providing employees with ergonomic help.
This has been helpful, considering that many workers were unprepared to work from home once the pandemic hit. Many employees have roommates or no office setup, making it hard to attend meetings or work comfortably and privately. This led many employees to work from cars, yoga mats, and even hammocks.
There has been a mix of experiences. Some workers have been telecommuting for years, while others are still adjusting to it, with the pandemic forcing their first remote work experience.
Employers still need the right tools to keep their remote workers healthy. Musculoskeletal problems are stemming from three main issues: lack of movement, psychological stress, and poor posture. As such, employers need to adjust their priorities. Many are focusing on COVID-related testing, such as temperature checks and lab testing instead of paying for things like workplace injury prevention services. There are some, however, who are focused on work-life balance and healthy eating.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
It can be hard to decipher what exactly is a workplace injury, especially when the workplace happens to be your own home. Where do you draw the line? Should you keep working remotely despite some aches and pains?
If your injuries occurred in the workplace, no matter where that might be, you could be entitled to compensation. Seek legal help from White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon. We can help you understand the laws and processes that apply. To schedule a free initial consultation, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.