The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission issued a ruling denying benefits to an operator who sustained an injury while moving between workstations, because the injury was the result of a risk that was personal to the individual and not incidental to employment.
In the case, Wade v. General Dynamics, an operator was required to examine parts in one area of her workplace and then take them to another area that contained a “reverse torque” machine. The worker stepped on her shoelace when she turned to leave one area, losing her balance and holding on to a table to keep from falling. She experienced pain in her buttocks and lower back and received a diagnosis of a sprain in her spine, hip spasms and pain in her knee. The worker underwent surgery.
The workers’ compensation arbitrator found that the worker lacked credibility. The IWCC, while finding that the worker was credible, denied her workers’ compensation benefits. The commission found that the employee was not required to work at a pace that would have made it more likely that she would step on her shoelace. Because she was not at greater risk of stepping on her shoelace than the general public, the injury was found not to have arisen out of and in the course of her employment.