Remote work accident is determined in the same way as in the work establishment | PRO HR September


Getting burned by boiling water when making tea, tripping over electronic equipment cords or slipping on a wet toilet floor.

The occurrence of such events at the work establishment, as a rule, does not raise any doubt that they are work accidents.

However, when these situations occur at the home of a remote worker, it will be problematic to classify them as accidents at work. 

Qualifying an event as an accident at work requires the fulfilment of all of the following four prerequisites: it must be a sudden event, caused by an external cause, causing injury or death, and it must be work-related.

Thus, performing remote work does not exclude the possibility of an event that can be classified as a work accident.

The tripping over the cords of electronic equipment, used as an example, can occur when the employee is moving between the laptop and the printer while performing his or her work duties.

However, the tripping can also occur when the employee, taking a break from work, starts doing housework or playing with the children.

The severance of the relationship with work or no availability at the disposal of the employer will preclude the possibility of concluding that there was an accident at work.

Less supervision of the performance of the work, the peculiarities of the work environment and the difficulty of not having or having a surplus of witnesses to the incident, which in practice will most often be family members of the injured employee, will result in a far more problematic conduct of accident proceedings related to remote work than proceedings related to an incident that took place on the employer's premises.

Despite shifting some of the responsibilities for safe and healthy working conditions to the employee, the employer will be bound by the same procedures for conducting accident investigations as for employees performing stationary work.

Gathering documentation, interviewing witnesses and listening to the injured party, as well as inspecting the scene and possibly securing it, are activities that the employer may not fail to do under penalty of a fine or restriction of freedom.

Find more in the PRO HR September 2022.