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Are injuries to a employee while pursuing a activity on behalf of a employer compensable under the Workers Compensation Act?

A employee although enhancing himself for work at the directions of his supervisor is not compensable under the Worker’s Compensation Act for his activity at home. In Price v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, 95SC303, Max D. Price a Colorado Prison Guard was exercising at home per the direction of his supervisor to lose weight. The supervisor provided the plaintiff with a copy of the department’s regulations which provided that corrections employees have the responsibility to maintain the physical condition necessary to perform the duties of their position. The plaintiff responded to the supervisor’s communication to exercise, and was injured while exercising on a chin up bar.

The Supreme Court of Colorado stated that to determine whether an injury suffered by an employee while engaging in an exercise program is compensable under the Worker’s Compensation Act, a court should consider whether: 1) the injury occurred on the employer’s premises; 2) the employer initiated the employee’s exercise program; 3) the employer exerted any control or direction over the exercise program; 4)the employer stood to benefit from the employee’s exercise program.

From the facts, the Colorado Department of Corrections through their agent - (supervisor) perhaps "initiated" the exercise program of the employee by their directions. Also, they perhaps "exerted control" over the program, and definitely "stood to benefit" from the employee’s physical enhancement. However, because the injuries from the exercise occurred at home, and not on the employer’s premises, it was not compensable.

It is therefore important that any employee before beginning an outside exercise or health program under implication from any employer, receive a clear written policy and position, otherwise their injuries on behalf of that employer could have a severe economic effect without recovery.

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