Traveling Employees in Construction
How Workers' Compensation Coverage Applies
Traveling employees are prevalent in construction as workers often travel to and from worksites without having a fixed place to work. As a broad definition, a traveling employee is required to travel away from his or her employer’s premises to perform their job, and travel is an essential element of employment.
How Workers’ Compensation Responds to Employees Injured While Traveling
So, how does workers’ compensation respond to employees injured while traveling? Basic workers’ compensation coverage applies when an employee’s injuries were “arising out of and in the course of employment.” Traveling employees have a much broader scope of coverage:
- Coming and Going to Work: Traveling employees are covered for injuries sustained once they leave their home until they return home. This includes falling at home on the way to the car, lifting bags or work items into the car before start of travel or even getting into an automobile accident going to work or home from work.
- Special Mission: This coverage pertains to a trip or travel by an employee at the direction of his or her employer. It can expand coverage for injuries sustained by employees who are not usually required to travel. If an employee is on a special mission at the direction of the employer, injuries sustained during the reasonable performance of his or her duties are compensable. For example, if an employer requires his/her employee to work 200 miles from home, in a different town, this would be considered a special mission. The employee would be required to stay in a hotel, eat out, etc. This is practically 24-hour coverage. Basically, these employees are then covered for both work and non-work-related activities.
- No Fixed Place of Work Exception: If an employee has no fixed place of work and is required to travel to various worksites, he or she is considered a traveling employee and in the course of his or her employment once he/she leaves home.
- Transportation Included in Employment Exception: If an employee is required to travel as part of his or her work duties and receives compensation for travel time, then that person becomes a traveling employee and accidents which occur during the course of transportation are found compensable. This exception may apply if an employee is paid travel expenses whether or not he or she is paid wages for travel time.
How to Determine Whether It’s a Traveling Employee Claim
Accidents involving traveling employees are held compensable so long as at the time of the accident the employee was engaged in reasonable and foreseeable activity. Here are a few ways to determine if a claim should be considered “Traveling Employee”:
- When/what time of the work day did the accident happen?
- Where/location the accident took place? Was it on the employer’s premises?
- Why/what was the employee doing at the time of the accident and why were they injured?
To minimize the risk of traveling employees for your construction company, reach out to our ‘A’ Team.
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