As spring and summer arrive and the weather improves, we all may be spending more time outside–even as part of our jobs. Now is the time for company softball leagues and employer-sponsored picnics. While it is all in the name of fun and team building, injuries can and do happen. Even though you are not technically “working” at the time, you may be covered by workers’ compensation if you get hurt at an employer sponsored event.
Ohio considers an injury work related when it happens while you are doing something consistent with your employment and logically related to your employer’s business. You don’t have to be doing your actual job at the time of the injury. Workers’ comp covers you for injuries that happen in the company lunchroom or bathroom, in the company parking lot, while you are about to punch in at the time clock. You may not be doing your specific job at the time, but you are doing things that are necessary to your work or to your employer’s business.
Likewise, workers’ comp covers you for injuries that happen at company sponsored picnics, outings and sporting events. If the activity is to promote employee relations or improve morale, then it benefits the employer’s business–and any injuries that happen to employees should be covered by workers’ comp.
Each case is individual, and the place of the event, the timing of the event and the participants all matter in deciding if an injury is work related. But most people wouldn’t even think that getting hurt while not doing their job–or while having fun–might be covered by workers’ comp. The key is whether or not the injury happened while you were doing something that benefitted your employer and their business. If you were, you may very well have a good claim.
So enjoy your picnics, softball games and outings, but remember that if you or a coworker has an accident, they should be protected by workers’ comp!