Bus, pedestrian collision doesn't qualify as abnormal condition
Case name: Jones v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, 24 PAWCLR 64 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2009).
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeals Board reversed a workers' compensation judge's award of benefits to an employee. Five commissioners dissented.
What it means:
When an employee alleges a psychiatric injury, he must prove he was exposed to abnormal working conditions and that his psychological problems are not a subjective reaction to normal working conditions.
The board found that a bus operator was not exposed to abnormal working conditions and therefore was not entitled to benefits in connection with an alleged work-related psychological injury. The bus operator was involved in an accident in which he ran over a pedestrian who was running alongside the bus. The operator stayed out of work for more than three months after the accident. The WCJ awarded the bus operator benefits, finding he sustained work injuries for post-traumatic stress disorder and acute anxiety.
The board determined that the WCJ erred by finding that the bus operator was exposed to abnormal working conditions when he was involved in a bus-and-pedestrian accident. The board found that bus-and-pedestrian accidents are foreseen, anticipated and trained for in the operator's occupation. Therefore, a pedestrian collision is not an abnormal working condition for a bus operator.
July 9, 2009
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