- You will need to consider the benefits of getting worker's compensation insurance if you run a home business and are worried about getting injured.
A growing number of people are starting online businesses these days, as they strive to break away from the frustration of working a 9-5 job for corporate America. There are around 33.1 million small businesses in the United States and around 19 million of them are home-based.
The appeal of running your own home business is very clear. However, there are some downsides as well. You have to deal with paying for your own insurance, retirement and the employer share of payroll taxes. We have an article on financial advice that small business owners need to be aware of, since there are so many financial nuances that can be difficult to navigate.
One of the other issues that you have to think about is dealing with the costs of injuries. You may even need to get worker’s compensation. The requirements about worker’s compensation can be pretty tricky.
Getting Worker’s Compensation When You Run a Home-Based Business
Today it is very common for people to work from home. Working from home is no different than working in the office when it comes to safety. Even when working remotely, you can still get injured on the job. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 35% of workers work fully remote, and 41% work hybrid.
Employers do not realize that they still have a responsibility to keep their employees safe even when they have no control over their home offices. If injured while working remote, you may be eligible to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits or a personal injury claim. Injuries while working remotely can be difficult to prove if they were work related, but a work injury attorney can help see if you have a case.
You will also need make sure that you have the requisite insurance in the first place. You aren’t required to get worker’s compensation if you are the only employee of your business. However, you may want to seriously consider getting it if you are at a high risk of getting an accident. You should be aware of the other types of insurance that you will need as well.
- Repetitive strain injury (RSI). Pain caused by repeated movement of the body with a poorly set up work station. Can lead to:
- Wrist pain and Carpal Tunnel
- Muscle weakness
- Poor circulation
- Reduced range of motion
- Numbness and nerve damage
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time with improper posture can lead to pain and dysfunction.
- Eye strain. Staring at a screen for too long with little to no breaks.
- Slips and falls. Your home office may have cords, rugs or poor lighting that may lead to a fall.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers “Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home … [as] work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting.”
Example of an eligible injury
- Getting injured while using a tool for work and needing medical treatment.
- Pulling your back while setting up a work computer.
Example of a non-eligible injury
- Your dog makes a loud noise in the next room, and while running over, you tripped and broke your ankle.
- Getting injured while on your lunch break.
There are several ways to support your workers and ensure they have a safe workspace at home. Some employers provide ergonomic equipment for their employees, while some others provide a stipend that can be used to purchase office furniture. If a company is unable to provide these options for their employees, they can also provide knowledge. Companies can also train their employees in how to create an ergonomic workstation and help guide them by providing a list of ergonomic purchases. Another option is to provide an evaluation service where you can evaluate their current office and see what needs improving.
- Document everything including medical treatment
- Let your supervisors know right away
- Learn about your state’s worker’s compensation laws and system