CNA’s Injury While Bending Over Merits Award

Ruling: The Commission held that a CNA’s activities in transferring a patient in conjunction with her sudden onset of pain while bending over to put on the patient’s slipper was sufficient to establish that her accident arose out of her employment.

What it means: An employee’s back injury while bending over at work may be compensable if she was involved in a strenuous lifting activity just prior to the injury.

Summary: The claimant was working as a certified nurse’s assistant at a nursing home. She testified that she and a coworker moved an elderly patient weighing about 100 pounds from her bed into a wheelchair, into the bathroom and then back into the wheelchair. After putting the patient back into the wheelchair, the claimant again received help from a coworker to sit the patient upright. The claimant then bent down to put on the patient’s slipper, she felt pain in her hip and could not walk. The arbitrator denied benefits, finding that the claimant’s injuries were sustained as a result of her standing up, which is a risk no greater than that to which the general public is exposed. A Commission majority reversed, finding that the claimant’s activities in transferring the patient in conjunction with her sudden onset of pain while bending over to put on the patient’s slipper were sufficient to establish that her accident arose out of her employment.

The Commission noted that the claimant’s testimony regarding the accident was corroborated by the employer’s accident report, the employer’s witness statement, and the medical records. Also, the Commission found that the claimant proved that her injures were causally connected to her accident. The claimant’s medical records showed she had no prior back complaints, and no other causal factor was presented to account for her condition of ill-being.