Common Workplace Injuries for Healthcare Workers
Many people realize that being a healthcare worker can be a challenging and exhaustive job. Long hours, difficult patients, and the constant pressure knowing that you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of another human being most certainly takes its toll.
However, far fewer people understand the many different risks posed by this type of employment which, as studies show, are substantial. In fact, research has shown that hospitals are one of the most dangerous and unsafe places to work. Nevertheless, millions of Americans work in the healthcare industry and expose themselves to these risks every day in a bid to help their fellow humans.
While as a healthcare worker you are probably well aware of the risks you face, your employer is still liable for taking precautions to help minimize the threat to your health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, sometimes situations may arise in the course of your employment that cause you to sustain an injury or become unwell.
You could find yourself unable to work for weeks, months or even permanently. You may also face hefty medical bills and costs for rehabilitation. If your accident happens during the course of your routine employment and is caused by your employer failing to fulfill their obligation to take steps to protect you from harm, you may be entitled to compensation for the physical, emotional, and actual damages that you have sustained.
Who is classed as a healthcare worker?
Healthcare workers take many different forms. Anyone who works in a health center, clinic, nursing facility or hospital is generally considered to be a healthcare worker. So is anyone who works towards protecting and improving the health of the public. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and even pharmacists are all classed as healthcare workers.
Common workplace injuries sustained by healthcare workers
Unsurprisingly, some types of injury are more common than others among healthcare workers. Here are some of the most commonly reported.
Although the emotional and psychological challenges of working in the healthcare industry are well known, many people fail to realize the physical toll that is taken on the bodies of these employees too. Whether you are on your feet for 12-hours a day or injury was sustained in the physical transfer and handling of patients, many healthcare workers experience musculoskeletal injuries during their career. In fact, some studies estimate that healthcare workers could be up to 7 times more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries than workers in other industries.
Along similar lines, back pain is a common problem experienced by healthcare professionals. Again, this is because you spend a great deal of time on your feet, as well as needing to bend, twist, lift and handle patients. These movements, however small, can place a great deal of strain on your back muscles and the spine, triggering back pain.
Slips, trips and falls
Medical environments can be prone to hazards such as spillages, exposed wires, loose tubing and even just general clutter, and these can make slips, trips and falls much more likely. While some workers may get away with mild injuries, some may be considerably more serious.
Sharp force trauma
Hospitals and medical facilities are packed with sharp objects, and when you are around these every day, you are at greater risk of being injured by them. From needles and surgical equipment like a scalpel to broken glass, the hazards are countless and if you are cut in the wrong place, you could suffer from a serious laceration.
Injury sustained as a result of violence
While we would like to think that the general public would have great respect for healthcare workers, the truth is that you are at serious risk of being assaulted while you are at work. Anger, frustration, and grief can all cause people to lash out unexpectedly.
Exposure to infectious diseases or substances
If you are working with sick people, you are much more likely to be exposed to airborne pathogens that cause illness, as well as dangerous substances such as drugs (legal and illegal) and bodily fluids such as blood, which may contain an infectious disease. HIV/AIDS is a serious concern for many workers in the healthcare industry.
What should I do if I have been injured at work?
If you are a healthcare worker and you have been injured or become sick during the course of your job, you may be entitled to financial recompense for the pain, suffering, and financial losses that you have incurred. This is known as Worker’s Compensation – a type of financial benefit that is typically covered by your workplace insurance. It is designed to ensure that workers who are adversely affected by incidents at work and find themselves out of pocket are able to reclaim some or all of their losses.
A great worker’s compensation attorney will be able to build your case for compensation on your behalf, collating evidence and supporting statements and dealing with involved parties, so you can focus on recovery.
To find out more about worker’s compensation or to discuss your case in confidentiality, call the Law Office of Juan Lucas Alvarez today at 305-442-7375.