Injury While Running Errands For Employer

Injuries occurring while running errands for an employer generally arise out of employment. This is true even where the injury occurs off of the employer’s premises. Coverage here is broad and extends to trips to and from work in some cases, as the following examples illustrate.

The first example is that of a mineworker hired to ensure that oil heaters in the mine remain lit. Although he might spend only one hour in the mine, he might spend three additional hours commuting to the mine and to the store to purchase oil. If this employee is paid hourly for all four hours, then his travels to and from the mine and to and from the store are errands for the employer. Thus, injury occurring during the course of completing those errands is compensable.

Another example is that of an employee who is called back to his place of employment during irregular working hours at his employer’s request for a purpose such as ensuring that doors are locked. Although he is commuting to and from work, this commute is within the scope of coverage since it is treated as an errand for the employer.

Note also that this extended scope of coverage applies to errands and trips performed by an employee for the joint purpose of serving the employer and the employee. Thus, if an employee happens to personally benefit from running an errand for the employer, such benefit does not change the character of the errand from being within the scope of employment.