Workmen’s Compensation – Injury “Arising Out Of” the Employment – Increased Risk as an Exception to Common Hazard Rule

Lightning killed an employee as he was carrying a shovel with a metal scoop over his shoulder while in the course of his employment. Expert testimony indicated that the risk from lightning was increased from a radius of twelve feet for a man six feet tall to a radius of fourteen feet for a man of the same height carrying a shovel. The Michigan Workmen’s Compensation Commission granted an award. On appeal, held, reversed. Assuming that the employee was in greater danger by carrying the shovel, there also must be proof that this increased degree of risk caused the injury. Inasmuch as there was no evidence that lightning struck between a twelve to fourteen foot radius from the employee, the necessary causal relation between the increased zone of danger and injury was not shown. Kroon v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission, 339 Mich. 1, 62 N.W. (2d) 641 (1954).