When most people think of dangerous jobs, they think of construction or manufacturing. In fact, one of the professions with the highest rate of overall work injuries is the healthcare field. Nursing home workers, nurses, nursing aids, and orderlies are at particular risk of getting hurt on-the-job.
An Atlanta work injury lawyer at Parsons & Associates, P.C. can provide legal representation when a healthcare worker is hurt. Injuries often involve the back, neck, and arms, and can effectively end a career as a care provider. Medical professionals affected by serious workplace injuries deserve to receive full benefits for all losses.
What are the Biggest Risk Faced By Healthcare Workers?
Safety BLR reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted a three year national emphasis program focused on workplace safety in the healthcare sector. At the close of the program, persistent problems remain and nurses aids, nurses, orderlies, and many other care providers continue to face significant on-the-job dangers.
OSHA has established new inspection protocols for hospitals and healthcare centers and has sent out guidelines to the federal agency’s 10 regional offices about questions to ask, things to look for during inspections, and fines to impose when hospitals fail to protect nurses and other staff members. In some cases where hospitals willfully ignore ergonomic injury risks of nursing staff, facilities could be fined as much as $70,000 by OSHA inspectors.
The five common injury causes that inspectors must be especially vigilant for due to the high number of injuries health professionals experience include:
- Slip and falls
- Overexertion injuries
- Injuries from blood borne pathogens
- Injuries due to workplace violence or assault
- Tuberculosis infection
Together, slip and falls and overexertion injuries account for 69 percent of all the injuries that necessitate healthcare workers taking time off from work. Overexertion injuries alone account for just about half of all work injuries among nurses. The musculoskeletal system is affected by overexertion and nurses and nursing care providers have one of the highest rates of back and arm injury of any profession as a result. Even when proper protocol is followed of lifting form the knees while maintaining a straight back, lifting patients still causes overexertion injuries. The use of mechanical lifts, including ceiling lifts, is strongly recommended as the only effective way to protect nurses and orderlies against overexertion when moving patients.
Workplace violence is also a big issue, with 14,440 assaults of nurses and other caregivers reported during a one year time period. Nurses and care providers are also the professionals with some of the highest rates of TB exposure and infection in the nation.
There are more than 4,000 hospitals nationwide, and understaffed OSHA is only going to be able to inspect dozens of these facilities over the course of the year. Hospitals should still take action to protect nurses, orderlies and other staff even if the facilities are not worried about an inspection. In 2013, 58,000 healthcare workers were hurt. This represents a tremendous loss of productivity and huge costs in the form of workers’ compensation benefits. Employers should try to prevent these injuries from occurring in their care facilities.
When nurses or other care providers are harmed, they need to understand their rights. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help healthcare professionals seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.