by J.D. Davidson
Workers’ compensation injuries taking place at home would look more like injuries suffered in an office if a bill passed recently by the Ohio House eventually becomes law.
House Bill 447 would eliminate at-home injuries suffered by employees working from that were not a direct result of a typical work. State law does not currently differentiate injuries from injuries sustained by work-from-home employees that are outside of the employer’s control.
“The pandemic changed our lives dramatically,” Rep. Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek, said. “With that change, legislators should act to modify laws that reflect the world we live in today. House Bill 447 codifies that injuries sustained by work-from-home employees qualify for workers’ compensation if the injury was caused by their employment and within the control of their employer.”
The bill would outline three criteria employees working from home must meet to qualify for workers’ compensation, including the injury would have to arise out of employment; the injury would have to be caused by a special hazard of the employee’s employment activity; and the injury would have had to have happened during an activity for the exclusive benefit of the employer.
“The purpose of this bill is not to prevent work-from-home employees from claiming workers’ compensation,” Lampton said. “Instead, the purpose of this bill is to protect the stability of Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. This bill will still allow for claims from work-from-home employees. However, it will prevent frivolous claims in Ohio that we are seeing in other states. One example is from Florida where a woman tripped over her dog when reaching for a cup of coffee and filed for workers’ compensation.”
The bill received support from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.
The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Brian Lampton” by The Ohio House of Representatives.