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Work-related Injuries Highest Among Healthcare Workers

by The Brown Firm / April 12, 2016

The most dangerous place for work-related injuries

Hospitals and healthcare workers have the highest amount of Work Related Injuries because of perilous hazards such as lifting and moving patients, needle sticks, slips, trips, and falls. It doesn’t end there, the sudden potential for flustered and hostile patients or visitors while being surrounded by an anything can happen environment around the clock. 

Don't forget the expected stresses that come along with the responsibility of having so much on one plate. Health care providers have a constant ethical duty to “do no harm” to the patients, even putting their selves at risk to put the patient's well-being first even before their own. 

highest work-related injuries in healthcare

What are the responsibilities of Healthcare personel?

Healthcare is responsible, directly or indirectly, to contributing to the health services of individuals. These services can occur in a variety of work settings, including hospitals, clinics, dental offices, out-patient surgery centers, birthing centers, emergency medical care, home health care, and nursing homes. More workers are injured in healthcare and the social assistance industry than any other. This industry ranks highest when it comes to work-related injuries and illnesses, with 653, 000 nurses, aides, and orderlies injured.

Even though health care workplaces are more dangerous than anywhere else, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts very few inspections of health care facilities. More musculoskeletal injuries are suffered by orderlies, nurses, and nursing aids than workers in any other industry. For example, back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to cost over $7 billion every year.

What kind of work injury dangers are in hospitals?

Healthcare workers face an assortment of serious safety and health hazards. They include:

  • Bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards
  • Potential drug and chemical exposures
  • Waste anesthetic gas exposures
  • Respiratory hazards
  • Ergonomic hazards from lifting and continuous tasks
  • Lazar hazards
  • Workplace violence
  • Risks associated with laboratories
  • Radioactive material and X-ray hazards.
Some of the possible chemical exposures include formaldehyde, used for preservation of specimens for pathology; ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde, and peracetic acid used for sterilization; and numerous other chemical used in healthcare laboratories

Why are nurses expected to lift heavy weight? 

It is reported nursing assistants and nurses experience the majority of work injuries. The most common injuries inflicted onto nurses result from patient violence and lifting or moving obese or elderly patients, or others unable to move under their power. 

Most people don't think of violence taking place inside a hospital but its more common than not. Often the patients’ intentions are not to project violence onto their caregiver, usually the patient is suffering from mind-altering disease and are not even aware of their actions. Either way, it can be a dangerous situation for caregivers resulting in significant injuries.

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Additional facts about work-related injuries

Hospital work is surprisingly dangerous-  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the likelihood of injury or illness resulting in a day’s work is higher in hospitals than in construction and manufacturing two industry’s that were initially thought to be the worst.

Injuries and illness come at high cost- When an employee gets injured on the job, hospitals take a hit in many ways, including:

  • Workers’ compensation for lost wages, and medical costs
  • Temporary staffing, backfilling and overtime when injured employees miss work
  • Turnover costs when an injuries employee quits
  • Decreased productivity and morale as employees become physically and emotionally fatigued.

Workplace safety also affects patient care- Manual labor is very strenuous to caregivers and also puts patients at risk for falls, fractures, bruises, and skin tears. Caregiver fatigue, injury, and stress directly correlates with medication errors and patient infections.  

If you were hurt in a work-related injury, contact the Brown Firm to assist you with your claim. Our Georgia workers' compensation injury attorneys are highly experienced in getting compensation for lost wages and any additional expenses that caused your family a financial bind. Don't wait, the longer the gap in time from your injury to when your claim was filed can hurt your case. 

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