Working from home is more popular than ever. While remote workers can now enjoy working from the comfort and safety of their own homes, they do face unique safety risks that are not necessarily shared by those who physically report to their places of work. Work injuries among remote workers are unique but serious, and unfortunately are not always treated as such by North Carolina employers.
An issue of ergonomics
Remote workers typically spend a large portion of their work days on computers. Unlike when they were at the office, these workers might not have the same access to ergonomic equipment. Using the right ergonomic equipment like keyboards and chairs is essential to protecting one’s body, and lack of access can contribute to problems such as:
- Lower back aches
- Shoulder pain
- Eye strain
- Ear fatigue
Finding the right balance between privacy, comfort and safety is a challenge for remote workers. However, it should not be a challenge they are left to deal with on their own. Employers who expect their employees to work remotely should provide ergonomic equipment when possible, and should also be sure to educate workers about how to work safely when not in the office.
Remote workers may also face additional challenges when trying to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for work injuries. It can be more difficult to demonstrate how an injury was related to work duties, and some North Carolina employers might be resistant to taking responsibility. It is important to remember that these types of injuries are indeed compensable through the workers’ comp system, and it is possible to file an appeal if initially denied.