Healthcare Workers and Injuries in the Workplace

When you mention injuries in the workplace, people often think of factories or other jobs that involve heavy manual labor. Unfortunately, workplace injuries can and do happen in almost any line of work – from a slip and fall in the office break room to long-term illness resulting from an environmental hazard such as toxic mold. Perhaps somewhat ironically, employees in the healthcare industry face a surprising amount of risk and potential injuries, and in some ways that you might not expect.  

Lifting and Moving Patients  

A surprising number of injuries originate from lifting and moving patients. Even with proper training, lifting a patient presents the substantial risk of injury to the back, knees, and shoulders. In addition, helping lift or move a patient can lead to a fall and subsequent injury. Injuries sustained from lifting can be very serious, especially if there is an injury to your back. These injuries can not only severely limit your ability to work but also limit your day-to-day living.  

The good news is that a number of healthcare facilities are beginning to address this issue in an effort to significantly reduce and maybe even eliminate lifting injuries. Hospitals and other providers are investing in new technology and equipment designed to lift patients and eliminate the need for them to be moved manually. In addition, providers are offering additional training to promote safe lifting practices or developing programs that provide for manual lifting only when absolutely necessary.  

Physical Violence

Surprisingly, nurses face a shocking amount of workplace violence, usually from patients or their family members. There are a variety of factors that may contribute to this situation, two likely culprits being the closure of mental health facilities and the opioid epidemic. An article published last year by the Huffington Post paints a rather grim picture. Nurses and other healthcare workers, especially those who work in emergency rooms, face the possibility of very violent assaults and serious injury.  Here are a few key statistics from the article:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 15,000-20,000 healthcare workers had to take time off of work due to an assault between 2011-2013.
  • According to the BLS, 10-11% of injuries for healthcare workers were the result of workplace violence, as compared to 3% for other industries.
  • In a 2014 survey of over 100,000 nurses by the American Nurses Association, 25% reported that they had been assaulted by a patient or a member of the patient’s family.

Hospitals and other facilities are required by OSHA to develop programs to address workplace violence, and efforts are being made by the industry to understand and address this situation. Unfortunately, assaults continue to occur, and healthcare workers are suffering serious injuries as a result.  

Contact an Atlanta Area Workplace Injury Attorney

Healthcare workers are some of America’s unsung heroes – they take care of us and our loved ones in our most desperate moments. Being injured on the job is difficult for anyone, resulting in pain and suffering, financial difficulties, and a loss of freedom. You may be entitled to compensation, and it’s important to understand your rights.  

If you are a healthcare worker who has been injured on the job, we want to help: call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.  

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