The Department and employers often suggest an injured worker is employable, or can be retrained, as a Security Guard and/or Surveillance-System Monitor (watching video monitors), which they frequently view as a sedentary unskilled job. However, frequently these jobs are more physically demanding and require more skills than suggested by the Department and employers.

Physical demands may include use of a ladder to adjust or maintain security equipment, assisting with the apprehension and restraint of intruders, making rounds (on foot, bike or vehicle), climbing stairs, walking on uneven surfaces and pushing and pulling large gates or other barriers. A security guard may be required to operate a fire extinguisher, carry heavy boxes or other goods, move a person out of harm’s way in an emergency and wear a weighted utility belt.

For example, I represented a security guard at a casino who was injured carrying poker chips, weighing 30 to 40 pounds, for a tournament. Although this was not something he did frequently, he was still required to carry the chips to and from the tournament, 2 to 3 times a week. Another time, I represented a security guard who injured his back, in part, due to the required heavy “Batman like” utility belt he wore.

Required skills may include use of radios, tracking and dispatching personnel and equipment, monitoring alarm systems, confronting trespassers and enforcing rules involving traffic control, parking and facility access. A security guard may also be required to have computer skills, relay messages, maintain logs, prepare reports, and assist individuals experiencing a crisis and work under high stress. Many employers require a background check with no current felonies or gross misdemeanors.

Additionally, according to Thomas Bush’s book on disability, many “guards are deliberately assigned other duties at various intervals because their employers found that the guards’ attention began to wonder after only a couple hours watching video monitors. In addition, it is good security practice to randomly rotate job duties and locations to make it more difficult for crooked security guard working with an accomplice to be
involved in theft.”

Dane D. Ostrander
Williams, Wyckoff & Ostrander, PLLC

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