These days, a higher percentage of the workforce works from home than ever before. Many circumstances, including the recent COVID-19 outbreak, may contribute to this growth. Though remote workers may not be in the office physically, they can still suffer work-related injuries.
And like other workers, work-from-home (WFH) employees are still entitled to workers’ compensation insurance in the state of Minnesota.
Common injuries that remote workers face
According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, a work-related injury is any traumatic, gradual or occupational disease that is caused, aggravated or accelerated by employment activities.
Though working at home may seem relatively risk adverse, WFH employees can suffer from the same injuries and occupational diseases that “on-site” office workers face.
Common injuries that affects these workers include:
- Shoulder & knee injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Back injuries
- Severe eye strain
Like other office workers, WFH employees face health concerns related to long periods of sitting and staring at a screen. These employees would also be entitled to a workers’ compensation claim regardless of their WFH status.
Staying safe while working at home
While it may seem counterintuitive, working from home may increase the risk of injuries in certain circumstances. For example, when employees transition to working from home suddenly, they may aggravate back and eye strain due to improper equipment and/or setup.
As more and more people transition to remote work, it is important that employers and workers alike remain aware of safety. When setting up a home workspace, be sure to be conscious of:
- Appropriate lighting to ease your eyes
- Comfortable arrangement of computer, keyboard and mouse
- An appropriate chair and desk
- Electrical and fire hazards.
If you are one of the many who is unexpectedly transitioning to some remote work in the coming weeks, taking some extra care can help you avoid injury.