It’s easy to understand how a Federal Air Marshal or a federal worker at the Department of Justice can get injured while on the job, but an IRS worker? Can they really get injured or become ill on the job? The answer is simple; yes!
While they may not be out of the front lines protecting our nation from threats, they certainly are vulnerable to unavoidable, and avoidable, accidents in the workplace. In fact, IRS workers file more than 800 new injury claims a year. Falls, slips, and trips are more likely to occur in an office setting. Wet floors, standing on a chair to reach something, and carrying a stack of books or files that precludes your sight are just some of the hazards IRS workers face. Below are some of the most common causes of injuries or illnesses for IRS workers.
Falls, Slips, and Trips
Cords and wires that are too long, or that are just hanging, is a major tripping hazard for employees in an office setting. Not keeping the walkways clear of clutter can lead to falls also. Carrying a stack of work or books, especially one that impedes your vision, can be harmful to you and those around you. In addition, uneven pavement in the parking lot can cause falls, and ice or water can cause devastating slips and falls.
A report from July 2016 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that most IRS employee injuries can be attributed to accidents like falls, slips, and trips. TIGTA is an office of the U.S. Federal government and it provides independent oversight of the Department of Treasury matters involving IRS activities, IRS Oversight Board, and IRS Office of Chief Counsel. They promote the fair administration of federal tax law in their audits, investigations, and inspections.
Any job has its own stresses. The IRS is no different. This is especially true during tax season, until mid-April. This can lead to an array of injuries and even illnesses. The added stress may cause sleep deprivation, which could lead to an injury due to inattention, or an illness. Mental and psychological disorders can arise from lack of sleep. Depression can occur, especially if you’re working in a challenging environment.
IRS workers work in a potentially dangerous environment. Irate taxpayers can make threats that can put a workers’ life in danger. There’s a section in the IRS employee manual that includes information about the “Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer”.
The most common injuries that occur in an office setting are Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and tendon strain. That July 2016 TIGTA report found that finger and wrist injuries were the most common. Data input and filing caused these. The report found that employees suffering from these injuries were given ergonomic equipment such as wrist pads and adjustable workstations.
Vision or Hearing Loss
Poor lighting, whether too much or too little, can lead to eye strain. Looking at small numbers and words all day can lead to eye strain as well as a neck strain. Noises from telephones and copiers can lead to an inability to concentrate and cause headaches and even lead to hearing loss.
This may not seem like an obvious cause of the injury; however, office buildings are prone to fires. The use of space heaters indoors can be a fire hazard but also the overload of surge protectors.
As of March 2016, the IRS had 27 safety officers nationwide who conduct accident and injury investigations. They perform safety inspections of IRS offices, identify ad control hazards, and promote a positive safe culture.
With almost a dozen IRS clients approved in the last year alone, we have helped IRS workers in positions of Bankruptcy Specialist, Program Analyst, File Clerk, International Examiner, Revenue Agent, Collection Representative, Tax Examiner, and Tax Analyst. Conditions we have gotten approvals for are migraines, degenerative disc disorder, a fusion of the spine, lumbago, multiple sclerosis, idiopathic hypersomnia, lumbar radiculopathy, leukocytosis, and more.
Here is what a couple of our former IRS clients have said about us:
“After 18 years of back-breaking-labor at the IRS (and 8 years of back-breaking-labor in the military), my back and right shoulder finally gave out. I am just very grateful that I had the Union, Veterans Affairs, and Harris Federal Law Firm to guide me through the disability retirement process.” A. D. – Layton, UT
“Thank you for all your hard work! I am forever grateful to you and your law firm for helping me get through this!” J. T. – Austin, TX
If you are an IRS worker, and can no longer perform the essential duties of your job due to illness or injury, please give us a call to find out if you may qualify for federal disability retirement. Our number is 877-226-2723 or you can fill out this INQUIRY form. Our consultation is always free!