Written by J. Sundberg
In Colorado, most work-related injuries are covered under workers’ compensation. Still, there are some exceptions to be aware of when considering whether an injury or illness will be covered under workers’ compensation. Knowing what is and isn’t covered is invaluable to both employers and employees working in Colorado.
Cumulative Trauma Work Comp Injuries: Covered
Many employees don’t know that for injuries or illnesses to be covered under workers’ compensation, they don’t need to be a result of a sudden accident. In fact, it’s common for employees to develop injuries or illnesses over time called cumulative trauma injuries and illnesses. These include injuries caused by repetitive motion and overuse of muscles and tendons, as well as illnesses caused by hazardous conditions, like respirable silica (breathable rock dust).
Offsite Work-Related Injuries: Covered
Injuries don’t need to occur on company property to be covered under workers’ compensation. Many employers are unaware that company vehicles, job sites and other work locations are also covered under workers’ compensation.
Company-Sponsored Events: Covered
Company parties and other social events sponsored by the employer but not necessarily on company property are also included. That means that if your company party takes place at a bar, the employer may be responsible for injuries sustained there during the event. On the other hand, if you and your manager go to the bar after work and the outing is not employer-sponsored, it is not covered under workers’ compensation.
Lunch Break: Sometimes Covered
If an injury occurs during a lunch break, but is on company grounds, it will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. If the lunch was somehow connected to the employee’s duties, like a meeting with a client at a restaurant, it should also be covered. Off-site breaks that are unrelated to the position are not likely to be covered.
Injuries which are not the fault of the employer: Not Covered
Not all injuries that occur in the workplace are covered under workers’ compensation. These exceptions include:
- An injury that occurs because of horseplay
- The employee injures himself on purpose
- The injury is caused by an “act of god” (natural hazard outside human control)
- The worker was injured during an event that was not part of his work duties
- Off-site injuries that are not related to the job
Very Minor Injuries: Not Covered
If the injury can be fully treated using the contents of a first aid kit, it isn’t severe enough to be covered by workers’ compensation. Even if you are taken to an urgent care and treated by a healthcare professional, cuts, scrapes and other small injuries are likely insufficient for a workers’ compensation claim.
Find a workers’ compensation provider in Colorado
Looking for a workers’ compensation provider in the Denver metro area with an emphasis on OSHA-sensitivity? Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine provides workers’ compensation and occupational medicine services in Brighton, Northglenn and Fort Lupton, Colorado.