Friday, March 16, 2007

Worker's Compensation, Disability, and Self Sufficiency

I was involved in an accident at work not long ago. Since then I have developed a constant pain. In my, and my family Doctor's, opinion the pain and the accident could be related. I filled out all the proper forms the day of the accident and then again when the constant pain developed to the point where I could no longer ignore it and required something more than pain pills.

That was three months ago and I am still waiting for WSIB to approve my claim for compensation for Physiotherapy. I have not taken time off from work, and have only asked that my manager respect the limited range of motions that was prescribed by the Doctor and confirmed by the physiotherapist. That in itself has been a joke.

My normal, daily work can include anything from sitting at a computer desk to lifting and moving 25 kg pieces of electronics equipment for 7 1/2 hours a day. I've spent hours standing on a ladder, which me neck bent at an odd angle against the ceiling, while I pulled 100's of feet of rigid coax cable. I've hung upside down from a metal structure installed on the roof of a building node, three floors above the roof of the main building. In other words I have continued to perform the duties put to me because my manager doesn't believe that those duties are included in the no repetitive motion, lifting, or pulling prescribed by my family Doctor.

Now I have been ordered to a town 2 1/2 hours away by highway to be assessed by another Doctor who has been told that the accident I was in could not possibly have anything to do with my current injury. I am angry at my manager and the company itself for insisting that they are not responsible. I am angry at the WSIB because it has been made clear to me that they work for the company and not for the injured party. And, I am angry at myself for being involved in such a situation and for being naive enough to believe that the company and the WSIB have my best interests at heart.

This series of events have confirmed for me why self sufficiency is so important. If an injury becomes a permanent disability or if the company decides it can increase profits by getting rid of one accident prone employee, then where will a person be? Without proper planning and preparation a person could easily find themselves without a home or a livelihood in the long term, and short on essentials in the short term. We shouldn't allow the world to catch us unaware.

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