Does Work Related Injury Include Injury Sustained On The Way To Work?

Lets talk about work related injury.

Someone asked a question – The question goes thus:

If a worker gets injured on his way to work, can such be classified as “Work Related Injury”?

Before I answer this question, we should understand what work related injury is.


What Is Work Related Injury 

A work related injury is said to be an injury or illness caused, contributed or significantly aggravated by events or exposures in the work environment.


OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has given an elaborate explanation on the subject matter.

Here is what OSHA has to say:

You must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment.

It goes further to explain what a work environment is:

OSHA defines the work environment as “the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work.”


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Exceptions: Situations where an injury or illness occurs in the work environment and is not considered work-related include:

(i)At the time of the injury or illness, the employee was present in the work environment as a member of the general public rather than as an employee.
(ii)The injury or illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.
(iii)The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball.
(iv)The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer’s premises or brought in). For example, if the employee is injured by choking on a sandwich while in the employer’s establishment, the case would not be considered work-related.Note: If the employee is made ill by ingesting food contaminated by workplace contaminants (such as lead), or gets food poisoning from food supplied by the employer, the case would be considered work-related.
(v)The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks (unrelated to their employment) at the establishment outside of the employee’s assigned working hours.
(vi)The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.
(vii)The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.
(viii)The illness is the common cold or flu (Note: contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague are considered work-related if the employee is infected at work).
(ix)The illness is a mental illness. Mental illness will not be considered work-related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related.



Read Also: RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)


Back to the question:

If a worker gets injured on his way to work, can such be classified as “Work Related Injury”?

Here is the simple answer to this question. It can only be a work related injury if it happened within the work environment, i.e, if the worker was being conveyed by in the organizations vehicle.

If the injury occurred in a commercial vehicle or the worker was trekking to work, it cannot be classified as work-related injury.