Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Free v. Social Security Administration, Atmospheric Conditions Includes Dust, Fumes, and Gases

Free v. Social Security Administration is an unpublished opinion from the Sixth Circuit.  The court addressed the question of exposure to dust, gases, fumes, and other irritants in the occupation of a packager, hand.  The court said:
The job does not require exposure to dust, fumes, odors, and gases or more than occasional stooping, kneeling, and crawling, and, although the job does require constant reaching, it does not explicitly require overhead reaching.See id. § 920.587-018, 1991 WL 687916.
What the court said is false. DICOT 920.587-018 – packagers, hand.  The Job Browser Pro report summary of the physical demands:
COMMON ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING CONDITIONS (to which the worker is exposed):
  WE - Exposure to weather - Not Present
  CO - Extreme cold - Not Present
  HO - Extreme heat - Frequent
  WT - Wet and/or Humid - Not Present
  NO - Noise Intensity Level - Loud
  VI - Vibration - Not Present
  AT - Atmospheric Conditions - Frequent
  MV - Moving Mechanical Parts Hazard - Not Present
  EL - Electrical Shock Hazard - Not Present
  HI - High, Exposed Place Hazard - Not Present
  RA - Exposure to Radiation - Not Present
  EX - Explosion Hazard - Not Present
  TX - Toxic/Caustic Chemical Hazard - Not Present
  OT - Other Environmental Conditions - Not Present
The question is simple, what does frequent exposure to atmospheric conditions mean?  The SCO defines atmospheric conditions as:
7. ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS
Exposure to such conditions as fumes, noxious odors,
dusts, mists, gases, and poor ventilation, that affect the
respiratory system, eyes, or the skin. In Part A, the rating
for the Atmospheric Conditions component appears
seventh in the Environmental Conditions column under
the vertical heading AC.
SCO Appendix D.  

Either the parties failed to provide the court with the definition of atmospheric conditions or the court ignored the meaning of atmospheric conditions.  I assume the former.   A winnable case lost for failure to read the SCO. 

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