The healthcare industry seems to be getting more dangerous with each passing day. Those working in this industry are aware of some of the on-the-job injury risks but may be unaware of others.
When healthcare workers are injured while engaging in daily responsibilities and tasks, they may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
IMPORTANT: If you think you are injured, report the incident/injury right away. Don’t wait weeks until you are in severe pain — because by that point, your employer may not believe you or may not pay for you to seek treatment. It’s best to report the injury right away. Also, when reporting an injury, write down who you reported it to, along with the time and date. The more detailed information you have if a problem arises down the road, the better off you will be.
Following are the top on-the-job injury risks for healthcare workers:
A significant risk to healthcare workers today is patient violence. The federal government has reported that healthcare workers are up to five times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than workers in any other industry.
The cause of aggression in patients varies, but it includes things like the health decline of loved ones, frustration related to being treated, confusion or anger about medical conditions and more.
Injuries related to patient handling
Nurses and nursing assistants are at risk of injuries related to repositioning and transferring patients and having to work while in awkward positions. Another issue is the improper use of “tools of the trade” while with a patient, such as scalpels, scissors and needles. Improper use of these items can result in puncture wounds and cuts that will increase the possibility of an infection.
Repetitive stress and overexertion injuries
Healthcare workers are seven times more likely to experience repetitive stress or overexertion injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These injuries typically impact the ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, discs, nerves and tendons.
As a healthcare worker, taking the right steps after being injured on the job is necessary. The first step is to report the injury to your employer and then learn about your legal options. If your claim is denied for any reason, you can appeal this decision to receive the benefits you are entitled to.