Road to Safety

published in The Journal Record | January 28, 2014

Frigid temperatures, sleet, ice and snow pose a myriad of issues for employers concerned about both employee safety and company operations.

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Charlie Plumb was interviewed in a Journal Record article titled “Road to safety” about employer liability for injuries sustained by employees as a result of winter weather-related accidents. He explained that Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law, which is set to go into effect February 1, 2014, will reduce employer liability in some instances.

Under current state law, an employee who is injured while walking between the parking lot and the office may, in some cases, be entitled to workers’ compensation, even if the trip resulted from an off-the-clock work break or commute to or from home. That’s all about to change. “Beginning Feb. 1, 2014, injuries that occur when someone is involved in transportation to or from work or in a parking lot or during a work break is not going to be considered a workers’ comp injury,” he said. However, employees who are injured while actually performing work will remain covered. Plumb advised employers to clearly communicate the distinction under the new law so that employees will understand what is compensable and what is not.