Posted On: December 15, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Over $1.5M in Illinois Workers’ Compensation Paid to Correctional Guards for Repetitive Strain Injuries

According to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, since January 2009, guards at the Menard Correctional Center have been paid more than $1.5 million in workers’ compensation benefits for repetitive injuries to the elbow, wrist, and hand that they developed while on the job. Work injury settlements ranged from $21,860 to $119,184 and are based on the percentage of permanent loss of arm and hand functions. Guards and other employees that had to miss work last year because of their repetitive trauma or while recuperating from corrective surgery were paid over $195,000 in salary.

Repetitive Trauma
Unfortunately, repetitive trauma is a common injury that afflicts many workers, including office workers, railroad workers, storeroom employees, meatpackers, assembly line employees, musicians, and others who must tend to tasks that require repetitive and/or constant movements. There are steps that employees can take to make your work environment more ergonomically friendly manner so that workers are protected from developing such painful, debilitating injuries that can cause permanent harm to the body.

55 Menard staff members —51 of them guards (that’s almost 1 out of every 10 correction officers at the maximum security facility)—filed Illinois workers’ compensation claims that cited repetitive trauma injuries. 30 of the cases are still pending. Guards have complained that their jobs have caused them to experience numbness in their arms and hands that have left them unable to perform non-stressful activities, such as tossing a football with their kids. Repetitive chores at the prison include performing “bar taps” to make sure that an inmate isn’t trying to saw out of a cell, the application and removal of handcuffs, “cranking” of a heavy wheel to open rows of cells, and the use of finger-long Folger Adam keys.

Menard employees filed another 27 Illinois workers’ compensation claims in 2009 for non-repetitive injuries, including slip and fall and injuries from heavy lifting. About a dozen cases have been approved.

Examples of Repetitive Trauma Injuries:
• Cubital tunnel syndrome
• Repetitive strain injuries
• Overuse syndrome
• Carpal tunnel syndrome

Menard guards get $1.5 million in workers' compensation, BND, December 12, 2010

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Related Web Resources:
Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

Menard Correctional Center, Illinois Department of Corrections

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