Can You File A Workers' Compensation Claim For A Commute Injury?

Workers’ Compensation covers medical and other expenses if you suffer an injury or illness from work-related activities. You may wonder, though, if you can file a claim if you’re injured during your commute, especially if you carpool with co-workers or run errands for your boss on the way to work. Here are some guidelines to help you answer this question.

Understand the Coming and Going Rule


The Workers’ Compensation laws vary by state, but in general, the “coming and going rule” applies to your commute. This rule states that employees who work in a permanent location, such as an office building or factory, cannot file a Workers’ Compensation claim for injuries they suffer during their commute to their work location because they do not perform work-related tasks during the commute. However, you may experience several exceptions to the coming and going rule.  

You Don’t Have Permanent Workplace

Certain employees travel to different job sites for work rather than reporting to one specific location. In this case, your travel falls under your employment duties. If you would suffer an injury while commuting to a job site, you could file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

You Drive a Company Vehicle

Your employer may provide you with a vehicle to drive to and from work. Even if you work in a permanent job location, your commute could be considered part of your job because you drive a company car. In this case, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation if you suffer an injury during your commute.   

Your Employer Covers Travel Expenses

Sometimes, an employer will reimburse you for travel expenses, including costs associated with your commute. You may be eligible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in this case because you receive travel expense reimbursement.

Your Employer Mandates Carpooling

Your employer may mandate carpooling for your commute because it builds team rapport, conserves parking spaces or is environmentally friendly. Because of this incentive, your commute may be considered part of your employment relationship, allowing you to file a Workers’ Compensation claim for injuries that occur as you carpool.

You do Errands for Your Employer

If your employer asks you to stop for coffee on the way to work or mail packages after work, you are performing work-related tasks even though you’re not on your employer’s premises. In this case, your commute may be covered by Workers' Compensation. 

An injury that occurs during your commute to or from work probably won't be covered by Workers’ Compensation. You may talk to your human resources manager, though, for details on your specific accident because certain exceptions could allow you to file a claim and receive compensation.

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What You Need To Know About Safety Footwear

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Whether you stand all day, operate heavy machinery or handle chemicals, you need to protect your feet as you work. Several foot safety tips reduce injuries and help you maintain a safe work environment.

When to Wear Safety Footwear

Safety footwear protects your feet against numerous injuries, including punctures, impacts, electrical shock and compression. If you work in any hazardous work environment, you probably need to wear safety footwear as part of your daily uniform. Protective shoes also protect your feet if you suffer from weak ankles or other medical conditions.

Available Types of Safety Footwear

Depending on your job and preferences, you may select safety boots or sneakers. Available in a variety of styles and colors, the best safety shoes include a CSA certification and may include:

Safety-toe - features a special toe covering that protects the foot from dropped objects

Steel insole - stabilizes feet and protects them from joint and bone injuries or problems

Metal instep - provides a barrier against glass, nail and other sharp object punctures

Metatarsal protection - reduces injuries to your upper feet and internal bones

Electric protection - absorbs shock through specially made soles

Heat resistant - resists heat-related injuries

Water resistant - repels water and keeps feet dry  

Nonslip - improves traction on various surfaces

Where to Purchase Safety Footwear

Your employer may provide strict guidelines and limitations about exactly which safety shoe you may wear, including where you may purchase this gear. If you can select the safety shoes you wear, check specialty footwear stores or online retailers. Because you want to protect your feet, select only the right shoes for your job and feet. Price should be secondary as you promote safety.

How to Fit Your Safety Footwear

When trying on safety footwear, ensure a proper fit.
  • Try on shoes in the afternoon to accommodate swelling that occurs naturally during the day.
  • Wear your regular work socks and any special supports.
  • Ensure ample toe room since the shoes typically do not stretch with wear.
  • Check for snugness around the heel and ankle.
  • Walk around a bit to check for comfort.
Care Instructions

Most safety footwear requires ongoing care and maintenance. Before you wear them for the first time, apply a water-resistant coating. Every day, inspect your shoes for damage, including sole cracks, leather breaks or toe cap exposure. Always replace your safety footwear if you notice signs of wear or damage that you cannot repair and after a puncture, impact or other event that may compromise the shoe.

Protect your feet at work when you wear the right safety footwear. Talk to your employer and check OSHA resources as you purchase, maintain and wear shoes that protect your feet every day.
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