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“Leg muscles save back muscles…Mandatory OSHA meeting Tuesday at noon.  Bring lunch,” states the company memo.  Sandor Padilla, a 28-year-old cargo loader, signs.  “Third meeting this year, and it’s not even June yet!”  He has only two minutes to reach the tarmac.  “Oh well, cargo waits for no man,” he thinks as he jogs off to work.

Sandor enjoys his job. It  keeps him fit but lets his mind follow more creative avenues.  Today, his thoughts stray to his daughter Reina’s fifth birthday party, just two weeks away.  “A pony or a clown?  Hot dogs or tacos?” he muses.  Single parenting has its moments.  As he is busy thinking of other things, the heavy crate slips, driving him into a squatting position that injures his thigh muscles.  His cry of pain brings Janet Wilson, his supervisor, running to help.

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The first aid station ices his leg to reduce swelling and pain.  After the supervisor completes the incident report, Sandor is taken to the emergency room.  Dr. Basra, the orthopedic specialist on call, diagnoses myorrhesis of the left rectus femoris.  A myorrhaphy is required to treat this injury.  After several days in the hospital, Sandor is sent home with a Vicodin prescription for pain and orders for physical therapy sessions three times a week.  He is not expected to return to work for at least 90 days.

AirFreight Systems receives the first report of injury and compares it with the supervisor’s incident report. Ruling: Safety Violation. No Liability. Return to work in 30 days or dismissal.

Sandor knows how to handle heavy loads safely; however, the crate may have slipped because he was busy thinking about his daughter’s birthday party and not about his work.  Could the responsibility for this accident be considered negligence on Sandor’s part?  Do you think Sandor should be help responsible or is blameless in this situation?

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