Santa Deals With Worker's Comp, Too

Santa Elvis

It’s the busy season at Santa’s workshop and that usually means a few headaches for Santa. Ginger, Santa’s longest-employed elf, injured her knee when she tried to hurry through the workshop to deliver a needed doll body part to one of her co-elves, and twisted her knee. (Elves have very small knees and ligaments, so, it doesn’t take much force for one of those babies to tear!)

Ginger went to see Dr. Winkles for treatment. Surgery took place at the Sugarplum Hospital and Dr. Winkles had that knee fixed in no time. However, Ginger still complained of pain in the knee for a while, but a simple prescription of marshmallows and peppermint candy alleviated the pain.  

Dr. Winkles released her to return to work with no restrictions when Ginger said she was ready to go back to work as there was not much time left to make toys. However, per Santa’s policy, Ginger was required to have a Fit for Duty test before returning to the workshop. The results of the FFD test showed Ginger could not climb stairs and ladders without pain and fatigue. Since these were needed to do her job, Ginger’s FFD therapist recommended a few visits of elf conditioning to get Ginger back to her normal elfself. Zippy, the Elf Conditioning Coordinator (ECC), put Ginger to work right away, showing her some elf stretches, strengthening exercises, etc. He warned her that she would probably get pretty sore and may have an increase in pain for a few days, but told her she needed to keep coming in to work out the soreness. (Hopefully Ginger will not develop a marshmallow dependency, as some elves do when they are prescribed pain medication.)

Ginger started out at 2 hours per day in elf conditioning. She did experience an increase in pain, but at night, she popped a couple of marshmallows, iced her knee and was able to sleep. As a result, she started improving and getting stronger. So much so, that her workout hours were increased to 3 and then 4 hours per day.

During that time, while increasing her overall strength and endurance, Ginger started learning how to prevent flare-ups and how to do stretches at work to prevent re-injury and pain. But the best part of her conditioning program is when Zippy incorporated some Santa workshop tasks:

  • Ginger practiced climbing ladders and steps
  • She carried boxes of doll parts
  • She learned how to load boxes onto Santa’s simulated sleigh by moving her feet instead of rotating her knees or trunk
  • She worked on pushing and pulling activities (for those times when she has to hang on to the reindeer’s reins to control them while loading the sleigh)
  • She increased her standing and walking tolerance while performing tasks
  • She learned how to properly carry and maneuver oversized candy canes, lollipops and toys.

Ginger also learned important body mechanics and proper posture while doing toy assembly and repairs. In just a few visits, Ginger was ready to return to the workshop and as always, the elves made their quota (and then some). Of course, Santa was very pleased to have Ginger back at full duty. He had been prepared to consider accommodations if needed. After all, Santa knows all about EDA (Elf Disability Act) and had provided some much needed accommodations in the past (e.g. the island of misfit toys, the Abominable Snowman [used for topping the Christmas tree] and the most famous accommodation of all – Rudolph).

HO, HO, HO! Be careful out there – Santa is watching!

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the staff at Job Ready!

Debra, Lauri, Kathryn, Kate, Caitlyn, Vincent, Jennifer, Mary, and Julie

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