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Industrial Back Injury

June 25, 2015

A 49-year-old technician injured his back and neck while taking apart a centrifuge in a cyclone separator. The arbitrator found that he was temporarily totally disabled for the 18 months following the accident. He is also entitled to reasonable and necessary medical expenses relating to the care and treatment of his cervical and lumbar conditions including cervical and lumbar fusion surgeries.

Read the decision of the Arbitrator below:






Employee/Petitioner Case#



On 3/25/2014, an arbitration decision on this case was filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission in Chicago, a copy of which is enclosed.

If the Commission reviews this award, interest of 0/07% shall accrue from the date listed above to the day before the date of payment; however, if an employee’s appeal results in either no change or a decrease in this award, interest shall not accrue.

A copy of this decision is mailed to the following parties:

View Full Favorable Decision


On the date of the accident the technician was working on a project in Sioux Falls, SD. He and his coworkers were having problems taking a centrifuge apart. He indicated that the machine had a gear that was bolted inside that was way over-torqued and could not be disengaged. As a result, he used a cheater bar in the form of a 4′ to 5′ long pipe to loosen the bolts. He noted that there were 16 bolts on the machine and that each bolt took two guys one to two hours to remove. He indicated that this took all week and that on the day of the accident he was pushing hard to get things done when he felt his neck and back pop. The pain got worse as he continued to work. He was unable to finish the job and subsequently flew home and went to the hospital the next day.

The technician had an MRI that showed bulging at C5-6 and C6-7 so he underwent cervical fusion surgery. He has been told he should have lumbar fusion surgery as well and is awaiting that surgery.

The arbitrator ruled that the injuries to the technician’s cervical and lumbar spine are causally related to the work injury and found the opinions of the treating neurosurgeon to be persuasive. Therefore the technician is entitled to reasonable and necessary medical expenses relating to the care and treatment of his cervical and lumbar conditions including the lumbar fusion surgery.

The arbitrator also found the technician to be eligible for temporary total disability for the year and a half after the work injury.