Workers Acting as Good Samaritans
Effective date: November 1, 2009
Application: Workers responding to emergency situations on and after the effective date.
Policy subject: Decision making - Injuries
To establish guidelines for injury claims where workers act as Good Samaritans when assisting at emergency situations.
Emergency situation for the purpose of this policy means a single occurrence resulting in (potential) serious harm to others that workers encounter in the course of employment and offer their assistance.
- Section 20(2)(b) of The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) provides the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) with the exclusive jurisdiction to determine “whether any injury has arisen out of or in the course of employment.”
- The WCB recognizes that workers may encounter emergency situations (e.g., car collisions) in the course of their employment and that their natural response is to act as “Good Samaritans” and assist those who may be exposed to (potential) serious harm.
- The reason the worker happens to be in that particular time and place arises out of and in the course of employment (POL 03/2017). As a result, there is a tenable link between the risk and the worker’s employment duties.
- Workers who are injured while assisting at an emergency situation encountered in the course of employment will be entitled to compensation benefits under the Act. An example of an emergency situation is provided below:
A truck driver is driving along his trucking route and encounters a high speed car collision. He stops and assists to extricate the occupants from the vehicle(s) but in the process suffers an injury. In this situation, the truck driver’s injuries would be compensable.
- Workers who encounter non-emergency situations in the course of employment and choose to remove themselves from the course of employment to offer assistance will not be covered. An example of a non-emergency situation is provided below:
A taxi driver is travelling to pick up her next fare when she notices a man trying to lift packages out of the trunk of his car. Instead of remaining on the direct route to pick up her next fare, the taxi driver drives toward the man struggling with the packages. The taxi driver stops, exits her cab and walks toward the man to provide assistance. In the process of lifting packages out of the man’s car, the taxi driver suffers an injury. As this is not a situation where the person requiring assistance is at risk of (potential) serious harm and the taxi driver deviated from the course of employment to provide assistance, the injury is not compensable.
- Coverage is not restricted to normal hours of work so long as the worker encounters the emergency situation in the course of employment.
The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013
Sections 2(1)(r), 20(2)(b)
(1) January 1, 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013.
(2) 2009, new policy approved.
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