If you have an accident at work, the treatment of your injury will be covered by the statutory accident insurance or employers’ liability insurance association, not your usual health insurance company. But more and more people are working from home or mobile working. So what happens if they get injured at home during working hours? Who pays for the treatment and what should employees do? You’ll find everything you need to know about this issue in our blog article.

Working from home and mobile working: occupational accidents and who bears the cost

You’re working from home, and all of a sudden, you trip on the stairs on the way to your study or scald yourself with hot coffee. The result? A visit to the doctor. Who pays the treatment costs for your injury in this case? After all, you were injured during working hours, but you weren’t in the office. Do you need special working from home insurance or accident insurance for home workers?

The answer is nostatutory accident insurance also covers accidents that happen when working from home.

Workplace accidents while working from home: statutory accident insurance and the employers’ liability insurance association

Statutory accident insurance is part of the German social insurance system. It has existed for over 100 years and was introduced by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The aim of the insurance is to provide employees with the best possible care following workplace accidents and to protect them from long-term negative consequences. Today, the basic principles of statutory accident insurance are defined in the Seventh Book of the German Social Insurance Code (SGB VII).

Statutory accident insurance is therefore additional insurance that supplements health and pension insurance. Unlike these two types of insurance, statutory accident insurance must be provided and paid for entirely by the employer. The company management registers the company with the appropriate employers’ liability insurance association or another accident insurance organisation. Contributions are also paid in full by the company.

Employers’ liability insurance association when working from home: who is entitled to claim?

Whether they are on company premises or working from home: all employees are covered by statutory accident insurance.

The insurance covers:

  • salaried employees, workers and trainees
  • workers on probation
  • home and mobile working
  • accidents on the way to work
  • company sports
  • official and business trips
  • company parties

What  counts as a workplace accident when working from home?

In general, workplace accidents while working from home are covered by statutory health insurance. But what actually counts as a workplace accident at home?

At the workplace

Accidents that happen while working from home are just as much workplace accidents as those that happen while you’re at your office desk. Cutting, scratching or abrasion injuries, for example from scissors, cutters, cutting machines or sticky tape dispensers, are particularly common when working at a desk. But please note that in this case, only injuries that actually occur in the course of your work count. If you briefly help your child and get your finger caught in a drawer, this is not a workplace accident. If you have to go to the doctor, your usual health insurance company will pay.

Commuting accidents when working from home

While travelling to work in a car, on foot, on a bicycle or on public transport, you are insured by statutory accident insurance, not your health insurance company. But even with shorter “commutes” in the home office, things can go wrong – and here, too, your employer’s accident insurance applies.

In the case of accidents when working from home, you must also consider whether a personal or professional activity caused the injury. If you trip on the way to your study or toilet, this is considered a workplace accident. However, if you leave your workplace briefly to accept a parcel and then fall on the stairs, this is not a workplace accident.

Incidentally, if, while you are working from home, you have to travel between the company and your home workplace from time to time, for example to deliver work or pick up technical equipment, you are of course also insured during this time.

Mobile working and workplace accidents

Mobile working means you can choose your own workplace. You can work at your employer’s premises, from home, while travelling – for example on the train – or in cafés or co-working spaces. What about accident insurance in this case? In these cases, it is usually more difficult to decide whether an accident is a workplace accident. As when working from home, however, all activities that have a material connection with the employment relationship are insured.

What to do after an accident while working from home

If you have an accident while working from home, there are some important steps you should take.

1. Contact the emergency services

If it is a serious workplace accident, you should contact the emergency services immediately, if possible. If there are other people in the house or flat, draw attention to yourself in order to get help.

2. Visit an accident insurance consultant

However, it is more likely that your workplace accident while working from home will be less serious. If you do still need medical treatment however, you should visit an accident insurance consultant. These are doctors who specialise in the treatment of workplace accidents. Don’t take any risks when driving to the accident insurance consultant and only drive yourself if your condition allows! If in doubt, take a taxi – you will also be reimbursed for these costs.

Important: When visiting the accident insurance consultant, you usually have to name your insurance company – in most cases the employers’ liability insurance association. Your employer should make it clear which employers’ liability insurance association is responsible for your company, during safety training courses, for example. If employees don’t know which accident insurance organisation they are covered by, they should ask their employer. Alternatively, call the free Statutory Accident Insurance helpline on 0800 60 50 40 4 for help.

3. Reporting an accident to your employer

It doesn’t matter whether you see a doctor after your accident while working from home or not: either way, you must report the accident to your employer. This is because it’s important that all accidents that occur at a workplace or in connection with an activity are recorded. Often these incidents are documented in the so-called first-aid logbook.

Why is it so important to note even minor injuries? This is primarily about protecting the employee. If an injury were to have any subsequent effects, for example the severe inflammation of a cut, it is still possible to apply to the accident insurance company for the costs of any treatment.

If the accident has been reported to the employer, the employer will also contact the relevant employers’ liability insurance association.

Continued payment of wages after an accident while working from home

The same applies following a regular workplace accident or a workplace accident that happens when working from home: the employer pays sick pay for six weeks, also known as the continued payment of wages. If the employee is still absent after this time, they are entitled to injury benefit. This payment is covered by the appropriate employers’ liability insurance association and amounts to 80 per cent of the gross wage, less contributions for unemployment and pension insurance.

Avoiding workplace accidents when working from home using risk assessment

Accidents happen. It’s impossible to avoid them entirely. However, there are also accident prevention measures that should be taken into account when working from home. In order to identify potential accident risks at workplaces in their employees’ own homes, employers are obliged to prepare risk assessments. This involves a company safety officer visiting the workplace at your home, identifying potential safety issues and helping to eliminate them. The assessment is based on the recommendations of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV).

Protect against workplace accidents – with uvex

In the event of a workplace accident when working from home, the costs are borne by the employer, just as they are in the case of an accident on the company premises. To ensure that serious injuries do not occur either at home or at the company workplace, the necessary safety precautions are a must. These include risk assessments and the provision of the necessary technical and protective equipment.

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