Working in the healthcare industry can be a very rewarding and satisfying career, but it can also be physically demanding, exhausting, and stressful. Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, aides, and EMS workers, are often exposed to a wide range of hazards that can put them at risk for injuries. On any given day, they are exposed to airborne viruses, bodily fluids, and contaminated needles. In addition, they often encounter patients and their family members who become upset, or even violent, putting their safety at risk.
Common Causes of Injuries in the Healthcare Industry
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more non-fatal workplace accidents among healthcare workers than any other industry. Examples of the most common causes of injuries that occur in the healthcare fields include the following:
- Overexertion/repetitive stress: Nursing aides, attendants, and orderlies are over seven times more likely to develop musculoskeletal disorders (MDSs) than other workers due to lifting patients in and out of beds, gurneys, and wheelchairs daily.
- Repeated patient handling activities: Workers can suffer from injuries resulting from repeated manual lifting, transferring, or repositioning of a patient.
- Needle sticks: Healthcare workers are exposed to needles and other sharp medical instruments on a regular basis. Any of these instruments could puncture the skin, possibly causing infections or the spread of disease.
- Physical violence: Healthcare workers, including social service workers, are often exposed to physical violence from patients, the patient’s family or friends, or violent criminals who are being treated at the facility. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there is a significant risk of being physically assaulted at a hospital or other healthcare facility.
- Slips and falls: When water, or other types of liquid, are spilled on the floor, it can become extremely slippery, putting workers at risk of falling.
- Understaffing: It is common for nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics to be understaffed due to a combination of budget restrictions and a lack of qualified health care providers.
Types of Injuries
Health care workers who are exposed to these risks on a regular basis often suffer from the following injuries:
- Sprains and strains: These are the most commonly reported injuries by healthcare workers. In most cases, they effect a workers’ shoulders and lower back.
- Slipped discs: Lifting, moving, and repositioning patients can damage the discs in the spine, causing significant pain and discomfort.
- Bloodborne disease: If struck by a contaminated needle, healthcare workers who administer shots are at risk of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C.
- Infections: When health care workers are exposed to mucus, urine, feces, or other airborne pathogens, they are at an increased risk of infection.
- Broken bones: These are usually the result of workplace violence.
- Head injuries: These could result from slip and fall accidents, or a violent attack from a patient or family member.
Any health care worker who has been injured on the job is eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, which covers the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits if the employee is unable to return to work. If the injury was fatal, Workers’ Compensation also provides death benefits to the surviving dependents. An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can guide you through every step of the claims process.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Healthcare Accidents
If you are a healthcare professional and you have been injured on the job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We are committed to providing injured workers with the experienced and dedicated legal representation they deserve. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Maryland and have offices in Columbia, Glen Burnie, Towson, and Baltimore.