| One of my mechanics is claiming carpal tunnel. I always thought
| motion was to blame. He does general repair and maintenance and set-ups,
| usually with nothing more than a set of Allan wrenches and a 8" crescent.
| I'm a little leery after he declared bankruptcy a few years ago after
| applying for and maxing-out numerous credit cards to get all the building
| materials and rehabbing three houses, go on dive and ski trips and buy his
| then girlfriend a $10k diamond ring. In fact, he wanted to be paid under
| the table for the process...I refused. He's lawyered up and refuses our
| medical protocol. It's rumored that he has another job lined up. I just
| smell a scam. I know, management is always trying to screw the worker but
| value, reward and love my people...he's always been just a "Them" but he's
| been treated with kid gloves because he IS bright and resourceful but
| needed constant motivation. I've always tried to maximize someone's
| strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
| Does anybody have any experience with carpal tunnel syndrome? Is it
| to be caused by a mechanic's work? Gee, do you think rehabbing three
| could have been more strain than his job? Or, his Wet-bike?
Folks who scam the worker's comp system tweak me to no end because they
mess things up for the folks with valid problems. That said, I am currently
out on medical LOA, having had shoulder surgery for impingement, and expect
to be out for a few more months. I truly do wish I were back at work. A
few years ago I was having some weird shooting pains in my arm and hand,
only which some of the symptoms said carpal tunnel, but others didn't seem
to apply. A nerve conduction test said it wasn't what CTS, which was, for
me, great, but that only told me what it wasn't. I later discovered that it
was a weird side effect of a medication I was taking and corrected it
myself. My wife has been recently diagnosed with carpal tunnel, and the
folks were surprised that she said it wasn't work related, even though she
could have gotten away with it. The initial symptoms predated her current
job, and we think it was caused by how she holds her hands while she sleeps.
She's working on management of the situation rather than immediately jumping
for surgery. Cortisone shots seems to have helped her a lot. I'd have been
really ticked had she said it was work related.
I do think that I have some inflammation in my wrists, that if allowed
to continue the aggravation, would turn into it. I can only hammer nails
for a little while now before I have to take a break, and some jobs at work
(even at home) are definitely off limits, or very short term for me. We're
all getting old at work, so painful jobs get a lot of understanding and
help. If you, his supervisor or foreman are paying attention, they will see
a legitimate situation coming. These things don't pop up overnight by any
means. I hate to tell anyone this, but the ways to get paid actual cash for
L&I situations are pretty few, and to get caught scamming the system usually
has some pretty serious implications. I'm sure when he gets into the system
he'll learn this. Throwing lawyers into the mix never helps, but you have
the state system and specialized lawyers who can help. Never cheap, but the
alternatives of screwing it up aren't pretty for you, either.
Different states have different laws, with various abilities to scam the
system, so what state you're in makes a huge difference. I don't know how
much of the process you are allowed to know, how much the L&I system will
tell you, and what is done to preclude scamming the system. If the system
is state controlled, time to get on the phone and start asking questions.
Some systems are setup to benefit the employee completely, assuming almost
all the way that the employee is right, and some the other way around. With
my case, my employer is self administered, so I get calls all the time from
a nurse checking on things and seeing how things are going. It was obvious
from the way some of the questions were worded that they were sniffing
around for a scam, which I can completely understand. My boss' access to
information is really limited, but I've been really straightforward,
including about some issues that threw a monkey wrench in my existing
treatment plan. I think it's gone a long way to keep folks from camping
outside my house with a camcorder! If you smell a rat, there's likely a
rat, but I'm not sure how much you can do about it.