When we get sick or injured, we depend on healthcare workers to be there to provide the treatment we need. Doctors, nurses, medical technology and diagnostic workers, orderlies and dieticians all provide valuable services in the care of patients with a variety of conditions each day. At the same time, many healthcare professionals end up putting their own health at risk during the course of their jobs. On-the-job injuries among healthcare workers are common, and cause serious and potentially disabling harm. Here is what you need to know about the dangers involved if you or someone you love is in the healthcare field, as well as the types of injuries these workers commonly suffer.
On-the-Job Injuries in Health Care Field Common
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), jobs in the healthcare field continue to be among the fastest growing occupations, currently employing an estimated 18 million workers. Unfortunately, studies conducted by the CDC indicate that jobs in the healthcare field rank among the highest in terms of occupation illnesses and injuries. Approximately one out of every five on-the-job injuries affects a healthcare worker, and among the most common type of injury is musculoskeletal disorders. Healthcare workers are nearly seven times as likely to suffer musculoskeletal disorders than all other workers. These types of disorders, which include potentially debilitating muscle and ligament strains, sprains, and tears, have become increasingly frequent among healthcare professionals for the following reasons:
- The strain of caring for overweight or obese patients;
- Having to lift and maneuver severely impaired or unconscious patients;
- Demanding patient to staff ratios resulting in increased workloads;
- Being required to put in long hours and overtime; and
- Current trends to getting patients up and mobile immediately after procedures.
All of these factors result in an increase in sprained or strained muscles, torn ligaments, slipped and herniated disks, and general injuries caused by overuse and overexertion.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), healthcare workers face on-the-job hazards such as chemical and drug exposures, needle sticks and exposure to bloodborne pathogens, and hazards associated with radiology and nuclear medicine. While dealing with infectious diseases and complicated machinery presents hazards, one of the biggest dangers healthcare employees face comes from interactions with patients. A recent survey conducted by the Journal of Emergency Nursing indicates that workplace violence has become an increasing problem in hospitals and other healthcare settings throughout the country, and that as many as 30 percent of nurses suffer from some form of physical violence at some point in their careers. Common causes of workplace violence among healthcare employers include:
- Dealing with patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s;
- Caring for patients coming out of anesthesia;
- Handling mentally in patients;
- Dealing with irate family members; and
- Handling people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Let Us Help You Today
If you or someone you care about is a healthcare worker who has suffered an on the job injury, contact our experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we fight to help our clients get the compensation they deserve for medical expenses and lost wages caused by on the job injuries.