Claimant’s Testimony of “Lifting Kegs” Not Enough for Increased Work Disability Award
A line cook was injured and his claim was closed with 11% whole person impairment and 27% work disability. On Reconsideration, the worker submitted an affidavit outlining his job duties. He claimed his job required physical activity qualifying for classification as “very heavy.” He described being required to lift full kegs, tubs of dishes, and food—each weighing in excess of 100lbs. Employer’s job description did not include lifting requirements.
The ARU, the ALJ, and ultimately the Board refused to defer to claimant’s affidavit. Rather, the Board relied on several DOT codes which classified the job as “Medium.”
The Board explained that many of the worker’s job duties are accurately described in the DOT codes (such as cooking, lifting kegs of beer, carrying trays of food, etc.) yet the DOT codes nevertheless classify the relevant jobs (cook, bartender helper, cook helper, kitchen helper) as “Medium.”
This decision emphasizes that if the claimant agrees a job description accurately describes the activities, but disagrees regarding the specific weight involved, the DOT codes can be a useful tool to clarify the job at injury.
If you have any questions regarding the reconsideration process and use of affidavits or DOT codes, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full copy of the case can be found here: Charles L. Chase, 67 Van Natta 1205 (2015).