Certiorari to review a decision of the Industrial Commission awarding compensation and medical benefits to employee.
At and prior to the time of her injury on June 7, 1950, employee was regularly employed by the Department of Education of the City of Saint Paul, as a teacher at the Lafayette School.
The Lafayette School fronts to the east on Fenton Street. Directly back of the school is a playground; its northerly boundary extends for 100 feet along the sidewalk of Kentucky Street and its westerly end or short side extends for 60 feet along the sidewalk on State Street. The long and narrow playground is on the same level as the adjoining sidewalks. No fence or other barrier separates it from the sidewalks.
Employee was required to be at the school at 8:45 in the morning. Classes began at 9 a.m. Between 8:45 and 9 she was to be in her classroom to prepare for the day's work, to answer the children's questions, and to hand out school-supplied playground equipment such as balls and bats so the children could play on the playground until school began. While they were playing, it was part of her job to supervise them. Because of the long and narrow shape of the playground, the children in their games would spill over onto the
Employee sustained her accidental injuries on the morning of June 7, 1950, at about 8:40 a.m. As was her custom, she received a ride that morning to the corner of Kentucky and State Streets or to a point adjacent to the northwest corner of the school playground. She then walked easterly on the Kentucky Street sidewalk enroute to the rear or west-side school entrance door. There were a number of children playing ball on the playground and a few were on the sidewalk. As she walked along the northerly side of the playground, and while she was still on the contiguous public sidewalk, one of the children batted a ball which struck employee on the inside of her left knee, thereby causing the injuries involved herein.
Employer's application for a review of the Industrial Commission's award of compensation and medical benefits presents the sole question of whether employee's injury is one "arising out of and in the course of employment" (italics supplied) as defined in M.S.A. 1949, § 176.01, subd. 11, and as used in M.S.A. 1949, § 176.02.
The question presents two phases or separate issues. An injury to be compensable must satisfy each of two companion requirements, namely, it must (1) "arise out of" and (2) "in the course of" the employment.
1-2. We turn to the first element. The phrase "arising out of" the employment is expressive of the requirement that there must be a causal connection between the conditions which the employer puts about the employee and the employee's resulting injury. The requisite causal connection — which need not embrace direct and proximate causation as for a tort — exists if the employment, by reason of its nature, obligations or incidents may reasonably be found to be the source of the injury-producing hazard.
3. Although employee's injury arose out of the employment, we still have the issue of whether it arose "in the course of" the employment. The phrase "in the course of" employment refers to factors of time and place and means that an injury to be compensable must arise within the time and space boundaries of the employment. Here the injury was sustained at about 8:40 a.m. while the employee was on her way to work and while she was on a sidewalk immediately outside the space boundaries of her employment but within the range of a hazard peculiarly associated with that employment.
4. We find no difficulty whatever with the factor of time. The statutory limitation (§ 176.01, subd. 11) that the accidental injury to be compensable must occur during the hours of service is to be given a liberal and reasonable construction so as to include during such hours a reasonable time for ingress after the employee, having put aside his own independent purposes, has come to a point which is not only immediately adjacent to the working premises but also within the range of hazards peculiarly associated with the employment.
5-6. Finally, in applying the phrase "in the course of" the employment, we have the question whether the injury arose within the space boundaries of the employment. Employer takes the position that, since the batted ball struck the employee while she was still on the public sidewalk, and therefore outside the actual geographical area of her employment, the resulting injury is not compensable. It further argues that employee, while walking on the sidewalk, was subject to no greater hazards than the community at large.
M.S.A. 1949, § 176.01, subd. 11, provides that the compensation act does:
"Not * * * cover workmen except while engaged in, on or about the premises where their services are being performed, or where their services require their presence as a part of such service, at the time of the injury, * * *." (Italics supplied.)
In applying the above statute to determine the coverage area of the employer's premises under the phrase "in the course of" the employment, it is to be borne in mind that in the instant case the source of the injury was on the actual legal premises of the employer despite the fact that such injury took effect outside those premises. The fact that an injury is sustained on a public sidewalk and that
In Barnett v. Britling Cafeteria Co. 225 Ala. 462, 143 So. 813, 85 A.L.R. 85, 87, the Alabama court appropriately said:
"* * * One of the tests is whether the workman is still on the premises of his employer. This, while often a helpful consideration, is by no means conclusive. A workman might be on the premises of another than his employer, or in a public place, and yet be so close to the scene of his labor, within its zone, environments, and hazard as to be, in effect, at the place and under the protection of the act."
In determining coverage under the act, the fact that the employee, at the time of the accident, was within range of dangers peculiarly associated with the employment is a material factor in defining the premises of the employer.
Employee is allowed $250 attorney's fees and costs in this court.
The decision of the Industrial Commission is affirmed.