CAN A BAD JOB BE A PAIN?  JOB CHOICE, SPINAL PAIN AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Your job choice may impact you having spinal pain.  Neck and Back pain may have a relationship to your job satisfaction.  A recent study suggests that workers’ spinal pain may have some connection to whether the workers like their job.  Skillgate E, Isacson Hjortzberg M, Strömwall P, Hallqvist J, Onell C, Holm LW, Bohman T. Non-Preferred Work and the Incidence of Spinal Pain and Psychological Distress—A Prospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910051

This article will discuss the possible relationship between spinal pain and job satisfaction.

How Did the Study View Job Satisfaction?

A non-preferred work is, here, defined as reporting working in a non-preferred profession and/or non-preferred workplace. Skillgate E, Isacson Hjortzberg M, Strömwall P, Hallqvist J, Onell C, Holm LW, Bohman T. Non-Preferred Work and the Incidence of Spinal Pain and Psychological Distress—A Prospective Cohort Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910051

This study essentially looked at those who liked their job and those who didn’t.

Is There Other Research Results Concerning Pain Intensity and Job Satisfaction?

Yes. There have been studies suggesting a positive association with job satisfaction and pain.  It was reported that “people who did not like their workplace experienced higher pain intensity compared to those who did like their job.” The study did not address any causal relationship, however.  Supra.

What was the Current Study’s Conclusions?

“Non-preferred work seems to be associated with a higher incidence of developing spinal pain, psychological distress and spinal pain with concurrent psychological distress, especially if the possibility to change job is low. “ Supra.

In sum, workers stuck with an unhappy job are more likely to have spinal pain versus those who have job satisfaction.

What Does This Mean?

This study, to some degree, supports the nature and extent of an Injured Workers’ pain.  Injured Workers, who have jobs with little satisfaction, may legitimately suffer more spinal pain than those who have job satisfaction.   Therefore, there is perhaps a valid argument to make that these Injured Workers should have their pain assessments discounted.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

FIREFIGHTER INJURY FREQUENCY AND WORKER’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In California, the State, Counties, Municipalities, and Cities employ Firefighters.  Firefighting, like other safety positions, are dangerous occupations which have significant risk of injury.   Firefighters are expected to and are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to save lives.  Due to their injury rates, data concerning Firefighter Work Injuries have been studied as to the nature of their work injuries and their injury rates.  A recent RAND study provides some insight into the challenges that Firefighters face.

What Are Firefighters’ Work Injury Rates Compared to Others?

Compared to other occupations, Firefighters have high injury rates.  Their rate is slightly less Police Officers.   Between 2005-1017, the rates were 200 per 1000 workers for Firefighters.  This rate is compared to 35 to 50 injuries per 1000 for all workers. Dworsky M, Seabury SA, Broten N. The Frequency and Economic Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders for California Firefighters: Trends and Outcomes over the Past Decade. Rand Health Q. 2021;9(2):4. Published 2021 Aug 16.

What Are the Most Significant Injuries That Firefighters Sustain?

Of all types of injuries, 47 percent of all Firefighter injuries were musculoskeletal in nature.  Supra.

What Body Parts Do Firefighters Injure?

Compare to other occupations, Firefighters sustain more trunk, ie spine, and lower extremity injuries versus upper extremity injuries than other occupations.  Supra.

What Are the Causes of Injury for Firefighters?

Strains are the most common cause of injury for Firefighters.   Also, burn injuries are more common for firefighters. They represent 6 percent of their injuries.  Supra.

Do Firefighters Seek Psychiatric Treatment for Musculoskeletal Disorder Injuries?

It was found that there was no difference between psychiatric issues for firefighter versus workers in similar occupations.  Supra.

The caveat to this issue is whether Firefighters use their own health insurance to address psychiatric issues rather than workers’ compensation.  Further, there is also the stigma problem.  Firefighters may not want it known to Management and co-workers that they have mental health issues.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

WCITN #9: A Stressful Scene At An Italian Restaurant

In New York, a controversial scene that happened at Carmine’s Restaurant. It was not about a bottle of red, a bottle white, or a bottle of rose, it was in part as a result of COVID-19 restaurant limitations.  As a result, an altercation ensued in which a two month employee was assaulted by customers.  It is reported that criminal charges were filed against the individuals who attacked her.  The reporting does not indicate whether the hostess sustained any physical injuries.   It is reported that she has not returned to work since the incident.

The restaurant spokesperson stated “[t]hree women brutally attacked our hosts without provocation, got arrested and charged for their misconduct, and then, over the last several days, had their lawyer falsely and grossly misrepresent their acts of wanton violence in a cynical attempt to try to excuse the inexcusable,” Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank said in a statement, according to WABC.” Foxnews.com

The owner also said “[m]y team members work too hard to serve our guests, work too hard to comply with New York’s vaccination requirements, and still suffer too much from the attack for me to allow these false statements to stand,” Bank said in his statement.” Foxnews.com

Does the Hostess Have a Valid Workers’ Compensation Injury?

From viewing the incident online, it is unclear as to whether the Hostess sustained a physical injury.  A physical injury could be a musculoskeletal injury or some form of cut or abrasion.  Besides a physical injury, she may have sustained an emotional or stress injury as a result of the incident.

Is Her Short Employment a Workers’ Compensation Issue?

Yes. In California, to file for a stress claim, a worker must have worked for a period of 6 months.  The six months is not required to be continuous. There is a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  This is per Labor Code Section 3208(d).

The question is whether the customer altercation would constitute a sudden and extraordinary employment condition. This would be considered a triable issue for which a Workers’ Compensation Judge can make a determination.

Can Evidence Be Important In This Matter?

In this case, the Employer made statements as to the extraordinary nature of the events that occurred.  These comments would be useful evidence to prove that the incident was a sudden and extraordinary employment condition.  Likewise, the fact that arrests were made of the patrons would be an important fact.

What Would the Hostess Receive If Her Claim Was Accepted?

If the Hostess’ claim was pursued and accepted in California, she would be entitled to treatment, total disability payments, permanent disability payments, and possibly a job displacement voucher. The entitlement to these benefits is dependent on the medical provider’s opinions.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS #6, THE BOSS WHO WAS PHILLY CHEESESTEAK KNIFED

In the City of Brotherly Love, a Philadelphia Cheesesteak Shop Owner was stabbed in the neck by an employee.  The news report indicated that the employee lunged “at his boss from behind and thrusting a 10-inch knife into his neck.”  It was also reported that the store owner’s son was present “his son grabbed two knives and tried to ward off the employee, the footage shows. nypost.com

After the attack, the store owner said, his son told him: “Dad, you have a knife in your neck … Don’t pull it out.”

In California, this incident may be considered as a work injury entitling either the owner or the son benefits.  There are several questions that need to be addressed to make a determination.

Can an Employer File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The answer is “yes” and “no.”  In California, it is possible that a Business Owner can be covered under workers’ compensation.  Generally, if the company is a corporation and the owner is an employee of the corporation, they may be able to be covered as an employee.  This must be arranged within the policy’s terms.    If so, just like their fellow employees, an employer can file a work injury claim.

Thus, if covered, in the fact pattern reported above, the owner could file a claim for both his physical injury and possibly for a mental injury.

Can The Owner’s Son File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes.  If his son was a company employee,  he could file a claim. In California, if the son suffered emotional distress over witnessing the violent event,  it is possible that he could pursue a psychiatric workers’ injury claim.

It should be noted California Workers’ Compensation Law treats Psychiatric Injuries caused by Violent Events differently from other Psychiatric Injuries. If a Psychiatric Injury is caused by a Violent Event, the causation threshold for proving an injury is lowered. This means that it is easier to qualify to attain it.. For Violent Events, the causation standard is lowered to a substantial cause. This means at least 35 to 40 percent. See Labor Code Section 3208.3

Beyond Workers’ Compensation, Are There Any Other Benefits That Either The Owner or Son Could Collect? 

Even if the Owner or the Son are not considered an Employees, there is a special Victims Compensation Board Program in California.  The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board administers the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP.) The program provides forms of compensation for victims of crime. The crimes, which may eligible for the program, can include domestic violence, child abuse, assault, sexual assault, elder abuse, molestation, homicide, robbery, hate crimes, drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, human trafficking, stalking and online harassment.

To be eligible for compensation, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death. For certain crimes, an emotional injury alone is enough to qualify. Certain family members and loved ones who suffer an economic loss from an injury to, or death of, a victim of a crime may also be eligible for compensation.

What If I Need Legal Advice?

If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, EPISODE #2, A RESTAURANT COOKING UP STRESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A Restaurant closed for a “day of kindness” after enduring customers’ abuse. Nypost.com  Restaurant Employee stress is real.  Some of the story’s restaurant’s employees were reduced to tears from customers swearing, threatening, arguing, and yelling.

The story illustrated multiple stressors that restaurant employees experience.  Customer abuse was the highlight.  There were management problems as well. The Employer noted that they “.. have had to make adjustments due to the increase in business volume, size of kitchen, product availability and staffing availability.”

Can Work Stress Be the Basis for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Yes. Work stress can be a source of psychiatric injury claim.   it can be the source of other stress related conditions.

Do The Restaurant Employees From the Story Have a Claim?

In California, the predominant cause of a psychiatric claim of injury arise from actual events of employment.  Further, good-faith personnel action which is substantial (35-40%) can defeat a claim.

In the story, the stressors did not come from employer discipline or write-ups.  Rather it came from Customers and Management organizational issues.  Thus, it can be argued that 100 percent of the work stressors do not fall within the personnel action defense.

Are Stressed Out Employees Eligible for Time off From Work?

Work stress can cause employees to go out sick. Mental Health Practitioners may take stressed out employee off of work.  This may entitle the Injured Worker to obtain benefits during their time off.   It should be noted that in the story, the workers, technically, never received a day off.  Instead, they spent the day cleaning the restaurant.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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