Workers Comp

Hello, There's a situation where an employee was out on w/c because her station wasn't ergonomically correct. She had been asking and complaining three months prior that someone look at her station set up, but nothing was done. As a result she has developed cervical radicalopathy and tendinitis not to mention some other minor discomforts that was supported by the doctor when she finally went in. The doctor wrote a note stating that she could return to work when an outside agency has done an evaluation of her work station. Now, her company is calling her in saying they can do the evaluation and that she should return to work. Does she have to return if they can't proof that they are certified to do a proper evaluation.


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  • Your question concerns ergonomics, which is a very hot topic right now. OSHA recently enacted regulations that would address ergonomic questions, such as yours, but Congress and President Bush overturned the regulations, leaving us in limbo for the moment. First, I would suggest looking into your state's workers comp laws and seeing whether they address this issue. Second, if your company has a policy on ergonomics injuries, I would follow that. Your question is really whether you have to take the advice of the doctor, to the letter. I do not know of anything that would give a doctor the authority to control who evaluates her workstation. Was the doctor who gave the opinion her family physician or a doctor that workers' comp sent her to? If it was her doctor, you may consider having another doctor give his/her opinion on the subject. Nevertheless, it is my gut feeling that the company should engage in some communication with the employee about the arrangement of her workstation and work with her to fix the situation, which may or may not involve the help of an outside agency.

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