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  • This came up

    Just curious going to let them work it out themselves. I heard this conversation and was asked my opinion (I didn't have one)/ Again I am curious not going to get involved. Here is situation.

    . a month or two ago work pulled or strained back stretching to put items on display wall.
    . employee reported he hurt his back but was leaving for day as shift was over and felt it no biggie. No paperwork filed that I am aware of.
    . about a week maybe two later he either reinjured himself or aggravated previous injury. He finished shift but said nothing.
    . because he is part time a few days past but his back is still giving him issues. He works a day or two with very defined limp
    . Tells a Manager about hurt back and his told if he needs to sit and rest (she saw him limping day before) for a few mins it was ok. He declined
    . Depending on what he is asked to do at job it hurts more or less.
    . its now been nearly two months or more and again depending on what he does either at home or work his back is ok, tolerable or pretty painful
    . he has appointment to see his regular Doctor on this Friday.

    Here were questions

    What kind of discussion does he need to have with Doctor?
    Is this a possible workers comp situation?
    Does he need to be off work or reduced workload for a certain period of time for workers comp?

    Sorry for lack of detail but that's all I got. I am curious because my wife has had slightly similar situations in past and in case this happens again I want to know more

  • #2
    These kinds of claims are the bane of my existence. It should have been reported and filed when it happened. When it got worse/wasn't getting better/started being noticeable, the employee should have been sent for care. Ideally the supervisor would have followed up a days or two later and again about a week later to see if there were ongoing issues. This should have been documented. The second incident should have also been filed when it happened. If there was no treatment and the employees "healed", it is a new incident.

    At this point, mess that it is, I would still have the employee fill out the forms and file the claim for the second incident. Get it on record. It is far better than 3 more months down the line, after the insurance has denied payment and the doctor wants to operate, having the employee come back and try and claim a WC injury. If it is deemed unrelated, so be it, but the employer needs to cover themselves and investigate. Was anyone present when injury #2 happened? Surveillance videos? Comments made since that time by the employee? What else is going on with this employee (facing term, seeking promotion, fight with coworker, genuinely top notch performer, etc.)? Other known explanations for the injury? Seems obvious but I have caught more than a few employees who claim it was a work injury only to find out that they posted on FB pics of them playing football with their kid the day before with comments about how banged up and sore they are, or sporting a bruise from a rec league softball game. Not that I'm jaded.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


    • #3
      And then there's my case....

      I had to carry a box of RFP responses (30 pounds) the mailroom on June 25, 2013. While I was trying to simultaneously hold the box, badge in to the mail room, and turn the door handle, the box started to slip. I was twisted my right hand to grab it and immediately felt a popping sensation in my wrist and by 9:00 that night was in excruciating pain. It took six months for the WC carrier to authorize an MRI. I have torn ligaments in my wrist and thumb, as well as scar tissue that is pressing on nerves, and my doctor has recommended surgery, which the WC carrier has yet to authorize. I leave work every day in pain, despite the brace I wear to hold my wrist together. If I called in sick every day I woke up with it throbbing, I wouldn't have a job left.

      On Friday, the company's workers comp carrier finally stipulated that I was, in fact, injured at work. It took sixteen months. Now we fight the battle as to whether surgery is necessary, which may take additional months. The hearing officer assigned to my case is known to take six to nine months to issue decisions, according to my lawyer.

      Not that I'm jaded, mind you.
      I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


      • #4
        I agree with Elle. This needs to get reported as WC. If he gets evaluation or treatment for the injury from his own doctor, his health insurance will (should) deny payment if he tells the doctor the injury happened at work. From the company's perspective, I don't like people seeing their own doctors for work related injuries. We lose control that way. We are very strict here about WC injuries only being treated by approved providers. If it gets to the point where the person gets a lawyer and wants to sue, and there is squabbling over permanency and expensive treatment, then they have the opportunity to have second opinions by doctors of their choosing. But in the beginning, it's best to have all evaluation and Tx for a work-related injury done by providers chosen by the carrier.

        And now that the employee is using this injury as an excuse to not perform certain tasks, it definitely must be addressed. Otherwise, I can see him getting disciplined for refusing to do work or decreased performance, and THEN ringing the WC bell and now he claims the disciplinary action is retaliation.


        • #5
          As stated the employee did report sore back to Management day it happened as he was leaving for day. He did not report that it got worse several days later while working moving luggage for sale. At this point the issue did not really cease and he had noticeable limp again depending on what he had done at home or work some days better than others. No Management asked him about limp. He was asked to do recovery (putting things where they belong in store) the bending stooping and lifting again caused issues. It was about a week or ten days ago He mentioned to another member of Management he had "back issues" which started there at work weeks ago. This Manager stated she saw limp and told him if he needed a 5 min break he could take one as needed. he declined. Now this is second time a member of Management was made aware of issue and told it started at work doing a work project. He saw he was on schedule to work "stockroom" this last Saturday AM. When he showed up he was no longer on schedule for that day not sure why. He saw Manager he talked to second time and said it was fine because his back was giving him trouble still and he had made appointment to see Doctor. That is pretty much it but I can try to find out more if you like. Again I am asking because my wife has had similar issues so I want info in case she again has a problem similar to what she had before. so my original questions still apply


          • #6
            I am not a WC expert, but all my major employers would bring in the line supervisors (me) and tell us that no one cared about our opinion of how serious the injury was, that we were to immediately report any and all injuries (real or imagined) to HR and let them deal with it. During my one stint in HR, the WC carrier basically said that no one in HR's opinion mattered either, to report all injuries (real or imagined) to the (the carrier) and let them make the call.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


            • #7
              I would agree with reporting, reporting, and reporting as well.
              I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


              • #8
                Reporting an injury to "management" is not that same as officially reporting it to HR, open a WC case, and getting eval & Tx under WC. Many members of management do not know about employment-related laws, and they know very little is anything about worker's comp and things that are a risk to a company.

                If this happened to you wife, tell her the same thing: report any on-the-job injury to HR. Not to an immediate supervisor, not to a senior manager, not to the CEO, but to HR.


                • #9
                  Ok story is someone where I work but similar situations have happened to my wife. Because this is retail there is no onsite HR so then what?


                  • #10
                    Are there any posters in the store with regard to workers comp or on-the-job injuries? There may be an 800 number for reporting injuries or othewise contacting HR.

                    (I just checked my employee handbook, and we are directed to report injuries to our manager first, not HR.)
                    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


                    • #11
                      to be honest I don't know. I can tell you that manager who got first report is Asst Store Manager and on store safety team. If anyone should know to document injuries its her I would think.


                      • #12
                        Report it to whomever claims get reported to. HR, EHS, GM, whoever. Then knock the heads of the managers who failed to ask straightforward questions when this happened and insisted it get documented and investigated. If an employee makes a vague statement, sure it is annoying but as a manager your job is to look out for the employee and employer's best interests which means asking follow up questions until you know that it either is or is not work related. Then you document that.

                        EE: My back is really bothering me.

                        Mngr: What happened? How did you injure it?

                        EE: I lifted that box this afternoon, twisted my back funny.

                        Mngr: Here is a WC claim form. Document the incident and go to get it checked out here...
                        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


                        • #13
                          From my understanding the first report (day it happened) came as the employee was leaving for the day and he reported to Asst Store Manager saying he had next couple days off so it would probably heal. Of course we know that several days later while working on a luggage wall it got worse but employee did not say anything that day.