Board Converting News, April 11, 2022

Reducing Premiums (CONT’D FROM PAGE 24)

A related problem: Employees who have migrated to home offices tend to grab the nearest desk and chair re- gardless of ergonomic concerns. Injuries result. “Employ- ees who work from home can have workers’ comp claims,” says Free. “If they can show that an injury was in the course and scope of their employment, it would be compensable. I could see an employer disputing it, but I don’t think it would go very far.” What to do? Employers are taking action such as con- ducting virtual ergonomic reviews and providing cash al- lowances for better quality chairs and for furniture with adjustable keyboard and monitor positions. “Safety and risk management budgets have become very large,” says Moore. “Safety investment has increased exponentially for home offices because employers don’t want to end up paying out claims.” Drug Abuse Pandemic stresses have also led to a growing use of marijuana—and that can lead to impairment and work- place accidents. Yet proving impairment can be difficult. “If somebody gets hurt at work, to dispute a worker’s comp claim, you’d have to establish that somehow there was a nexus between the person’s use of marijuana and the inju- ry,” notes Free. “You’d have to show they were high at the time they got hurt.” The topic is more complicated if marijuana is being used to treat a medical condition in a state where it has CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

are those for which the worker interfaces with the public, but the regulations may embrace a larger universe as time passes. Long absences from the traditional work environment can also lead to medical conditions. “Mental health issues may increase among people who have been working

from home for a long time without social interaction,” says Moore. “Facebook and LinkedIn only go so far. That may lead to the greater need for treatment and higher workers’ comp rates.”

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April 11, 2022

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