Health Care Worker Injuries
What do paramedics, nurses, EMTs, doctors and CNAs have in common? Well, besides simply being healthcare professionals? And, besides having to wear scrubs, and on occasion those stylish uniforms, masks and gloves? . . . It may come as a surprise, but the work they do often puts them at high risk of injury.
The healthcare industry is one of the largest industries—employing over 18 million people. Many people don’t realize the physical stresses put on nurses, physician assistants, emergency medical technicians, and others who work with the sick, injured, and elderly. The healthcare industry is among the top five industries with the greatest risk of workplace injuries. In 2013, one in five reported nonfatal occupational injuries occurred among health care and social assistance workers, the highest number of such injuries reported for all private industries, according to a study done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
From accident scenes, to hospitals, to nursing homes, health care workers regularly face unpredictable scenarios in which they are often forced to make split-second decisions on how to best help patients. Their jobs are not easy and they often put their own safety and health at risk to help other people. Sometimes patients can be unruly, agitated, or even combative, and wind up injuring health care workers around them. Mental health patients in particular can be unpredictable.
Additionally, health care workers face hazards of exposure to blood borne pathogens from needle stick injuries or exposure to illness by being around contagious patients. And there are risks of being exposed to radioactive materials, x-rays, or toxic chemicals and drugs. We’ve represented nurses who have been injured from straining to lift or move patients. We’ve helped a nurse accidentally stabbed with a contaminated needle left unprotected in soiled bedding. The injury scenarios are endless. A delirious patient can throw a punch. A large patient being help to walk in physical therapy can fall and in doing so can fall on top of a nurse or CNA. We’ve represented people who have suffered physical injuries at work, as well as people who have developed a workplace-related disease.
While much has been done to decrease the number of workplace injuries within the healthcare industry over the last few decades, there are still plenty of hazards. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a healthcare field accident, please feel free to give us a call.