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MichiganWorkerWIthQuestion

Management Asked Doctor To Falsify Documentation

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Let's start at the beginning. 

I work for a manufacturing company. I am a material handler, constantly handling heavy material manually(part of my job description).

 

There is one aspect of the job, lets call it STAND UP ROLLS. Imagine a paper towel roll, but 7 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 300lb+. Now, these rolls are standing up underneath an industrial racking, with about 15-25 rolls per location. There are multiple varieties, and when I am called to deliver one, I have to enter the location, and locate the appropriate style and manually pull it out and then push it over onto fork truck forks and deliver. 

I had brought up to my supervisor that this is, in my opinion, an unsafe operation. If one of those fall over, someone can get seriously hurt. Nothing was done.

Fast forward a month or so. I am searching for a particular style, and one of the rolls must have been teeter tottering and it fell over, landing squarely on top of my foot/at the top of my ankle. I IMMEDIATELY contacted my team lead, and supervisor, and went to first aid to have it looked at. It started swelling up right away. We iced it and I rested for a few hours, but was told to go home early and come back the next day and we will re-evaluate. 

Next day, foot a little better but not much. Still swollen and in pain. They put me on light duty with minimal manual labor. Next day, same thing. (Got hurt Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday they put me on light duty) 

Friday I was given the day off. 

 

This weekend, it did NOT get any better, staying pretty swollen and in pain. 

I go into work this morning, and tell my team lead I want to go to the clinic, and have it X-Rayed, as it is in a lot of pain still.

 

My EHS(Environmental Health and Safety) Coordinator was the one who took me to the clinic. At the clinic, they X-Rayed it and said no break, but it was a SEVERE high ankle sprain. 

Doc said I need to be ICING it every 30 minutes, and that he wants me off my feet for a week. The EHS guy then asks the doctor NOT to put that in writing. He says that they will give me restricted duty, but if it is not in writing, then they don't have to count it as a recordable and report it to OSHA. 

 

The doctor said OK!!! ?!?   

 

My paperwork from the clinic said RETURN TO WORK NO RESTRICTIONS, but they want me coming back on Thursday for a check up.... and possibly an MRI.... Is that legal for him to give a diagnosis, but then omit it from the records at the request of my boss?!

 

(I called up and spoke to the nurse I saw at the clinic... I was recording the call too, because in Michigan it is a one party consent state... I asked about what restrictions were in my chart and she said none... I acted oblivious and asked her to check again, because the doctor said I needed to take it easy... she went to check with the doctor, and came back telling me that the doctor said "your boss said he is going to put you at a desk so that is ok, but he asked us to keep the restriction off the record".... )   I have that all in a recording....

Is any of that legal, or what do I do here?!

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Has a workers' compensation claim been filed?

 

Lots of it is legal.  Some of it may be an OSHA reporting violation. Some of it may be an ethical issue for the Dr.  None of that is going to get you any money because, at least as of now, you have not been damaged.

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The note itself doesn't change anything as far as OSHA. OSHA violations also don't carry with them a private right to action so even if your employer does leave it off the OSHA log at the end of the year, not much would happen other than OSHA would tell them to correct the deficiency. They have much bigger fish to fry. Placing you on restricted duty is entirely legal, exceedingly common, and a best practice. No violation at all and has nothing to do with OSHA.

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