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Whether initiation of or participation in horseplay is a deviation from course of employment depends on the extent and seriousness of the deviation, the completeness of the deviation, that is, whether it is commingled with the performance of duty or involves an abandonment of duty, the extent to which the practice of horseplay has become an accepted part of the employment, and the extent to which the nature of the employment may be expected to include some such horseplay.
Michael Prows was a truck driver who delivered boxes secured with elastic bands. Some employees used the bands in horseplay with other employees. During such horseplay, Prows was struck in the eye. His application for workmen's compensation was denied by the Industrial Commission because the horseplay represented a complete abandonment of the employee's duties, and he failed to show that his injury arose out of or during the scope of his employment.
Was the Commission correct in finding that by engaging in horseplay, Prows had abandoned his duties?
The court held that (1) the deviation from Prows’ duties was of short duration and relatively trivial except for the consequences; (2) the horseplay was commingled with the performance of, not the abandonment of, Prows’ duties; (3) the deviation from the duties was not so substantial that the resulting injury did not arise in the course of employment and was not compensable; and (4) the Commission's finding, that by engaging in horseplay, Prows had abandoned his duties, was not supported by substantial evidence.