Nearly every worker in eastern Pennsylvania has to deal with job stress at one time or another. Whether it is due to a large workload, looming deadlines, angry bosses or other common stressors, being at work can cause us to feel upset or even ill.
Of course, some jobs are more stressful than others. For people who routinely encounter high-stress situations at work and later sustain an illness caused by stress, shouldn't they be able to receive workers' compensation?
The workers' compensation commission of another state thinks so. It recently ruled that a project manager for a construction company who suffered a heart attack should receive benefits because the heart attack was caused by job stress.
The worker managed several expensive construction projects. He frequently had to deal with serious problems on his projects. Many of these problems, which included budget overruns, delays and construction errors, would lead to disagreements with contractors and architects. Some of these encounters would become heated and include shouting.
According to the project manager, during one disagreement a project contractor screamed right in his face and threatened his life. Two weeks later, after a day of tense meetings, he suffered a heart attack. He applied for workers' compensation benefits, but an arbitrator that considered his application rejected his claim.
On appeal, the state commission found that the stress the man suffered was different than the stress generally experienced by members of the public and sustained while on the job. Therefore, the project manager is entitled to compensation, the commission concluded.
Source: Risk & Insurance, "Project manager proves working conditions caused heart attack," Dec. 10, 2012