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Employee at job site using alcohol is there coverage if injured on site for workers compensation

  1. When an employee is injured on a job site, normally he is compensated for his injuries through workers compensation. This coverage is designed to protect the employee from having to pay large medical bills, expenses for recovery, and related follow-up care costs all while missing paychecks due to time off work. Workers compensation benefits pay for the employee’s related expenses when he is injured due to job duties, due to an accident while working, or due to illness that is caused from his work or workplace.

When an employee is drinking alcohol on the job, there is a much higher risk of injury. If a carpenter cuts off his thumb while framing up a room addition at a job site for example, normally workers compensation benefits would pay for his medical care and costs of recovery. If however, that carpenter was drinking alcohol while working, then whether he qualifies for workers compensation benefits is left up to a judge.

If the employee files a workers compensation claim, the workers comp benefits judge will have to determine whether his accident and injury were caused because he was drinking. The judge may determine that the alcohol had nothing to do with the injury, in which case the employee would have a right to workers comp benefits.

When the accident is declared to have happened because of the alcohol usage, then the situation can get trickier. Normally the employee has no rights to workers comp benefits if his accident was caused by the alcohol usage. If however, the judge determines that you had knowledge of the employee’s drinking, then it could be said that you were complicit in the situation. This means that you allowed the employee to continue working despite knowing that he was under the influence of alcohol.

When the workers comp judge feels that you as the employer knew about an employee’s alcohol use, or had reason to know about it, they can award workers comp benefits to the injured employee.

The best way to keep your company safe from events of this sort is to draw up a strict no-tolerance policy towards drug or alcohol usage on the job. Make sure all employees and sub-contractors are fully aware of the policy, and take swift action if you ever have reason to believe an employee is working while under the influence.