Agency Spotlight—Common Injuries of Forest Service Workers

Jul 28, 2017

workersConcluding our spotlight this month of the U.S. Forest Service, we will look at common injuries in specific cases we have assisted with regards to Forest Service employees.

Law Enforcement Officer

The job duties of this position include investigating crimes on National Forest Service lands. This means apprehending, detaining, and arresting individuals is necessary. The position requires the person to work in “hazardous and arduous” conditions that require walking, climbing, reaching, pulling, crouching, and running over rough terrain. Strenuous activity is frequently required and the worker must remain in good physical condition to effectively perform field duties.

This client suffered from a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis and was unable to perform duties such as running, jumping, walking, climbing, or squatting.

Criminal Investigator

The duties of this position include hiking steep and arduous terrain while carrying a heavy pack of supplies and equipment. Exposure to the elements is a daily hazard. Another aspect of this job is to apprehend suspects when necessary and entering drug sites and having exposure to pesticides at times.

This particular client was suffering from atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, among other conditions, and had a bi-ventricular pacemaker. Due to these conditions, he was unable to apprehend suspects effectively and couldn’t stay in the field for long periods of time alone. His heart conditions made it difficult for him to hike the rough and uneven terrain.

Contract Specialist

This forest service position requires a person to create partnerships, build relationships, and draft proposals. It requires extreme focus to detail, the ability to be a self-motivator, and cultivate relationships.

In this case, the client was suffering from anxiety, deep depression, and panic attacks. She was unable to find purpose in her position and couldn’t be around people for any extended amount of time because of her anxiety. She became ineffective at work and could no longer perform her essential job duties at an efficient level. Common injuries are actually often mental conditions that are caused by stressful workplace environments.

Forestry Technician—Fire Engine Operator

The job duties of this position include entering arduous terrain and dangerous situations. The worker must drive the fire engine to the fire or incident location and put out the fire. The position requires the employee pass a Work Capacity Test because the job is so physically demanding. One part of the Work Capacity Test is to complete a 3-mile hike in 45 minutes while carrying a 45-pound pack. Other requirements of this position are running, walking, bending, hiking, shoveling, chopping, throwing, lifting, and scaling uneven terrain.

This client was suffering from spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebra) of the lumbar spine, PTSD, bilateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), a hernia, and hearing loss. He was unable to squat, kneel, climb, jump, push, pull, or lift more than 10 pounds. It’s easy to see how he was unable to perform the essential duties of his job. Without passing the Work Capacity Test, he was no longer qualified for this position.

Academics Manager

As an Academics Manager, the worker is in a supervisory role and is required to be at the office to control the flow of students in the Education Department, but also to arrange for substitute teachers when one is absent. Duties in this position also include training staff, encouraging students, hold meetings, and improve teacher-student engagement.

This client suffered from diabetic neuropathy, cataracts, trigger finger (a condition that causes a finger or thumb to catch or lock when bent), depression with agoraphobia (anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid people or places that might cause you panic), ulnar entrapment (ulnar nerve in the arm becomes compressed or irritated), and carpal tunnel syndrome. Having depression with agoraphobia makes any job difficult but especially one where you are in a supervisory position like this client. She was unable to create relationships with her staff or the students in the department because her anxiety would keep her from doing that.

Soil Scientist

Duties in this position include field visits with prolonged periods of standing, walking over rough, uneven terrain, bending, crouching, reaching, lifting, carrying, driving to those locations, and working around mold or other allergens.

This client suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease (when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus), sleep apnea, asthma, eosinophilic airways disease ( an over group of pulmonary disorders characterized by an increase in blood).  All his disorders and diseases would make his job unpleasant, especially with being exposed to mold and allergens when suffering from asthma.

We Can Help

If you work for the Forest Service, or any federal agency, and are unable to perform your job duties for useful and efficient service, give us a call at 877-226-2723. We have helped thousands of federal workers across the country with common injuries on their federal disability retirement cases. We offer FREE consultations. You can also fill out this INQUIRY form.

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