Mechanism of Injury: What every Occupational Health Professional Needs to Know

An aged employee stands all day driving a stand up lift and reports knee pain to the Occupational Health Nurse. Through the treatment provided, the medical provider diagnoses the injured worker with a knee sprain and meniscus tear. During the accident investigation process, it is reported that the knee pain was a result of the constant standing and cracks in the cement floors jerking the lift while driving.

As an employer it is your decision to determine if this claim is compensable. One can argue that this individual’s knees would hurt with the constant standing and lift jerking throughout the day. Another could make a determination on the facts that the associate was a long standing worker with a strong work ethic and no previous claims prior to this reported instance. How do you fully know when to look closely at the accident information to determine if the accident reported correlates with injuries sustained?

Some employers today are faced with the decision of claim compensability but may not be aware that the mechanism of injury plays a vital role in the injury sustained. Not only is how the accident occurs important, but also any previous factors that that could show pre-existing conditions that could help with the determination and your defense if denying the claim.

Amy Middlebrooks, RN, BC, CCM, will be presenting the latest findings in her presentation: Mechanism of Injury: What Every Occupational Health Professional Needs to Know at the upcoming SEAK Annual Workers Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference.

Ms. Middlebrooks will explain how to determine the mechanism of injury with intake from the employee, safety employees, and an analysis of other sources that could have caused the accident. She will discuss best practices for reviewing prior accidents and injuries, work related and non-work related, medical history, and a detailed review of past medical records. Ms. Middlebrooks will offer practical suggestions and advice for post-accident follow-up and pro-active management of the claim to help the employee to return to work.

Amy Middlebrooks, RN, BC, CCM is a nurse case manager at VocWorks in Dublin, Ohio where she performs telephonic and field case management. She has extensive accident investigation training as well as performing in depth medical reviews to determine the mechanism of injury and preexisting conditions.  Ms. Middlebrooks is a certified case manager and is board certified with a specialty in case management. She received her RN from Lima Technical College. Ms. Middlebrooks, while working at Big Lots, developed a clear process of handling claims training medical professionals on the accident process to help them understand how accidents occur and injury mechanics. Ms. Middlebrooks was selected as a finalist for LexisNexis workers’ compensation notable people in 2010.