Scooping ice cream a workplace hazard: Alberta tribunal

Former convenience-store employee awarded workers' compensation

Scooping hard ice cream all day last summer was a workplace hazard for one convenience-store employee with an injured shoulder, according to an Alberta tribunal that has ruled the woman should receive workers' compensation for her injury.

The woman's rotator-cuff condition was diagnosed a year earlier and treated successfully with cortisone shots.

She had no problems in her first few weeks on the job at the convenience store. But then her duties changed and dispensing ice cream became her main job responsibility.

Two months of scooping hard ice cream during the hot summer months led to a painful flare-up of her shoulder condition. Eventually, the pain became too much, prompting her to quit the job and, after more cortisone failed to bring relief, undergo surgery.

“The activity required considerable use of force with her right hand and arm in a twisting motion because the ice cream was frozen hard.… She recalls that during one two-day period, the total sale of ice cream cones was $1,500,” stated the three-member appeal commission.

The worker’s claim for compensation was originally denied by the provincial board, which led to her appeal.

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