Worker susceptible to injury but job caused injury: Tribunal

Increased susceptibility didn't change the fact job duties caused injury
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

An Ontario worker has won an appeal for workers’ compensation benefits for a neck injury found to be caused by her work duties.

The worker was employed in a factory environment making car frames on robotic devices. She often had to load and unload parts in an open frame used to guide the machine as part of her duties. She had a pre-existing impairment to her neck and left shoulder due to earlier injuries in early 2008, for which she had received a 10-per-cent pension in an earlier workers’ compensation claim.

In March 2011, the worker was performing her duties and lifting items over a wall which had a safety bar. The worker was fairly short in stature and the safety bar was at chest level, requiring her to bend at the chest, stand on her toes and reach down into the machine to get a grip on the part she had to lock into place. After doing this all day, the worker said she had bruises on her ribs from the safety bar. She asked her employer for a lift or ramp to be raised up so she wouldn’t have to bend at the chest, but her request was refused. Her doctor suggested she get a mat or something else to stand on, but that didn’t happen either.