GENE FORBES ENTERPRISES d/b/a McDONALD’S OF TAZEWELL AND ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY MEMORANDUM OPINION* BY v. JANIS R. COOPER June 9, 2015
Court rules in favor of McDonald’s worker who was injured catching ‘french fries’
A Virginia appellate court awarded worker’s compensation benefits to a fast food manager, working at a McDonald’s restaurant.
“The worker testified she felt a ‘pop’ in her neck when she impulsively bent over quickly to catch the small bag of fries before they hit the floor. The employer denied her claim citing Plumb Rite Plumbing Service v Barbour, 8 Va. App. 482, 382 S.E. 2d 305 (1989) in which the court held the simple act of bending over, absent any unusual or awkward movement does not provide a connection between employment and meeting the ‘arising out of’ standard.”
“The appellate court stressed in the McDonald’s case, the record revealed more occurred than just bending.” When the bag of fries slipped, the worker had to bend, jerk and twist and do it quickly. “It held that the worker did this to advance the employer’s business” – by serving customers in a timely fashion through the drive through window as well as prevent food from being thrown away.
“The court acknowledged that bending did occur routinely in every day activities, but the combination of rapid body positions that occurred in this case was sufficient to remove the occurrence from a ‘risk of the neighborhood’ to a natural incident of the work.” 
DSI COMMENTS: While incidents such as this cannot be predicted as they happen impulsively, it may be helpful to have workers begin their day with dynamic stretches as well as provide early intervention programs to allow employees access to a rehab specialists in the event of an injury such as this. While the information provided here was gleaned from an article titled, “Top 10 Bizarre Worker’s Compensation Cases for 2015” it is not that unusual for workers to experience musculoskeletal injuries when at work. Workers tend to do what they must to get the job done and unfortunately, this can ends in an injury.
DSI Work Solutions Job Function Matching System incorporates early intervention in their system to facilitate more rapid return to work post injury or illness.
 Thomas A Robinson, Top 10 Bizarre Worker’s Compensations Cases for 2015