Agency Spotlight—Common Injuries of OPM Workers

May 31, 2017

opmConcluding our spotlight of the Office of Personnel Management this month, we’re going to look at the most common ways OPM workers can become injured.

While jobs at the OPM are mainly desk type positions, employees can become injured in several ways. Below are just a few of the injuries we’ve seen and how those have affected that employee’s work performance.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

This client is an HR Specialist. Their job duties include:

  • Travel up to 25 percent of the time.
  • Identifying, analyzing, and resolving complex HR accountability and evaluative solutions.
  • Typing and interpreting reports.
  • Sedentary work at a computer.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis can squeeze and compress nerve roots where they leave the spinal cord. It can also compress or damage the spinal cord itself. This can lead to pain, stiffness, numbness, and weakness in the neck, arms, and legs.

It’s easy to see how someone with this injury can underperform in a sedentary position like this one. Sitting for prolonged periods of time cause pain throughout the entire body. Even flying would be tough because not only are you sitting on a flight for an extended amount of time, but also having to get through the airport quickly.

Severe Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

This client is a Special Agent. Job duties in this position include:

  • Conducting background investigations to evaluate an individuals’ trustworthiness for classified information.
  • Repetitive motions like typing, driving, and sitting.
  • Interviewing candidates.

TMJ causes pain and/or tenderness in the face and jaw area, and neck and shoulders. It can also cause problems with opening your mouth wide, chewing and talking. For someone in this Special Agent position, being able to talk for an extended amount of time is a requirement. The interview process is an essential job duty.

Degenerative Disc Disease

This client is also a Special Agent. Their job duties are the same as above, plus having to focus and remember information.

Degenerative Disc Disease can occur anywhere along the spine. It’s the breakdown of discs that inhibit the spine to properly flex, bend, and twist. It can also put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain and possibly affecting nerve function.

Someone with this disease working as a Special Agent may have a very tough time performing their essential job duties. The disease can be very painful, so repetitive motions can become almost impossible. Not to mention, the pain makes it hard to focus on work and remember information, which, for someone who works with extremely sensitive information, can lead to a security issue.

You do not have to be in a high risk job to become disabled as we have seen here with OPM workers.

Harris Federal Law Firm has helped many OPM workers with their federal disability retirement claims. These are just a few examples of who we have assisted. If you have been suffering from a disease or injury that has caused you to become less than sufficient at work, please give us a call at 877-226-2723. You can also fill out this INQUIRY form. Our consultation is always FREE.

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