Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 967 16
G. McCaffrey - J. Blogg - F. Jackson
  • Consequences of injury (altered gait)
  • Permanent impairment {NEL} (redetermination) (significant deterioration)
  • Loss of earnings {LOE} (review) (after seventy-two months) (significant temporary deterioration)
  • Work transition plan (self-directed program)

The worker suffered a right knee injury in August 2003, for which he was granted an 8% NEL award. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the left knee, redetermination of the NEL award for the right knee, entitlement for a self-directed work transition plan in 2013 and entitlement to LOE benefits during the self-directed plan.

The worker did not have entitlement for the left knee. It was not a secondary condition resulting from altered gait.
The worker was not entitled to redetermination of the NEL award for the right knee. He suffered only a temporary deterioration at the end of 2012.
The worker continued to work for the accident employer in modified work until he was permanently laid off in December 2008. He had concurrent employment with another employer and was able to continue working in that employment until a change in his job duties at the end of 2012. In order to maintain his employment with the concurrent employer, the worker engaged in a self-directed retraining program to obtain is AZ truck driver licence.
The change in circumstances at the end of 2012, was well after the final LOE review date. Board policies suggest that it is preferable to maintain an existing employment relationship, if possible. There was no indication that a work transition plan cannot be undertaken subsequent to the final LOE review if circumstances change. The Board policies also provide that WT services can be provided when a worker is working at an employer other than the accident employer and that WT services can be provided long after the injury.
In this case, the worker's decision to retrain for a job with his long-term employer was consistent with the principles and intent of Board's WT policies. The Panel noted that the worker has now been in his new position for three years without significant difficulty. The self-directed plan was appropriate and reasonable. The worker was entitled to reimbursement for the plan.
The worker suffered a significant temporary deterioration of his condition at the end of 2012. He came within the exception, allowing benefits after the final LOE review during the self-directed WT plan.
The appeal was allowed in part.