Drinking alcohol, nap during work topple compensability for painter's fall
Wood v. Labor Commission, No. 20100932-CA (Utah Ct. App. 01/26/12).
Ruling: The Utah Court of Appeals held that a painter was not entitled to benefits because his injury did not occur within the course of his employment.
What it means:
In Utah, an injury occurs during the course of employment when the worker is injured while fulfilling his work duties or engaged in doing something incidental to his employment.
Summary: A painter was painting the interior of a three-story home that had an empty elevator shaft. He spent the morning performing employment duties, but after lunch, he began consuming alcohol on the jobsite. He went to sleep for two hours in a closet on the first floor of the home. When he awoke, he returned to the second floor and fell into the elevator shaft, sustaining serious injuries. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The Utah Court of Appeals held that he was not entitled to benefits because his injury did not occur within the course of his employment.
The painter argued that his nap after drinking on the job did not constitute a departure from the course of his employment. He pointed out that he was injured at the jobsite during work hours. However, the court found that the painter's significant alcohol consumption and his two-hour nap was a removal from his job duties. He departed from the course of his employment.
Next, the painter asserted that if he left the course of employment during his nap, he returned to that course when he awoke and began moving around the jobsite. A coworker said that all of the work around the second-floor elevator shaft opening was completed a day before the accident and there were no tools or painting supplies near the second-floor opening. The painting company's owner said there was no work for the painter near the second-floor opening at the time of his injury. The court said this showed that the painter was not performing employment duties at the time of his injury.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
February 27, 2012
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