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Court says work-related lifting contributed to heart attack

One of the tasks that many employees of bars and restaurants are ordinarily required to perform is moving and switching out heavy kegs of beer. Anyone who has had to do this can attest to the fact that it is a strenuous job. At the end of a busy night an employee may have to move around numerous full kegs of beer, sometimes in cramped quarters.

Recently a Pennsylvania appellate court ruled that a man who worked as a chef and restaurant manager was entitled to workers compensation benefits because the heavy lifting required to move the beer kegs likely contributed to the man's heart attack, that later necessitated a quintuple bypass surgery. The claim had originally been denied by a workers' compensation judge.

The man's health concerns began one day when he experienced chest pains while moving beer kegs. While working several days later he had similar pains while moving a heavy pot of chili. He was subsequently hospitalized and underwent the surgery. He filed a workers' compensation claim but his employer contested the claims.

One issue that had come up in the case is that the employee had been a smoker prior to the accident. The original workers compensation judge thought that the doctor who had testified on behalf of the employee had not established a link between, the lifting the employee was required to do at work, and the heart attack.

The appellate court however saw the testimony differently. The appellate panel found unanimously that the doctor's testimony was unequivocal, and remanded the case for a calculation of benefits.

Source: Business Insurance, "Comp benefits due to restaurant manager despite being smoker: Pa. court," Roberto Ceniceros, Dec. 29, 2012

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