In Simko v. WCAB (United States Steel Corp.- Edgar Thompson Works) the Commonwealth Court revisited the coming and going rule which holds that an injury which occurs while traveling to or from work is not compensable unless one of four exceptions exists. The exceptions are (1) the employment contract includes transportation to and from work; (2) the employee has no fixed place of work; (3) the employee is on a special mission; or (4) special circumstances are such that the employee was furthering the business of the employer.
In the Simko case the employer held two kinds of safety meetings. One was a monthly meeting held before the start of the shift. Employees were notified of the date for this type of meeting when they received their work schedules. The other, called an SDM, was held infrequently and only after serious accidents or fatalities occurred. The employee was injured in a motor vehicle accident while he was traveling to an SDM meeting which the employer had incorporated into an already scheduled monthly safety meeting, even though special issues were discussed at this meeting.
The Commonwealth Court found that because the meeting in question was a regularly scheduled meeting, that traveling to or from this meeting was not a special mission, was during the employees commute, and hence not compensable.
The outcome of this case turned on the facts that the claimant was traveling to a meeting which he regularly attended at his place of employment. If the SDM meeting had been called on an emergency basis or at a location other than the normal workplace, the outcome would likely have been different.
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Sara L. De Long