Pennsylvania: Shortness of Deviation Time Not Determinative to Claim

Reversing a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Appeal Board that, in turn, had affirmed a judge's award of workers' compensation benefits to a claimant who sustained serious injuries to his thumb when he stepped away from his post for a few minutes to polish a bolt for his child's go-cart, a Pennsylvania appellate court recently held that regardless of whether the employer permitted claimant to conduct personal work on its machinery during work hours, and regardless of whether claimant was gone from his post for only five minutes, the departure from the course of his employment was "strongly marked and not trivial."  It was neither "insignificant" nor "minor in influence," and the WCJ erred, therefore, in awarding benefits.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Trigon Holdings, Inc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Griffith), 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 312 (Aug. 7, 2013)  [2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 312 (Aug. 7, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 17.06 [17.06]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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