While healthcare workers perform one of the most important jobs, they are unfortunately at higher risk of injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the healthcare industry employs more than 18 million US workers. Out of these, about 80% are women. While healthcare industry workers perform one of the most important jobs in our society, they also face higher risks of non-fatal injuries and illnesses compared to most other industries.
Risks for Healthcare Workers
Hospital staff and nurses that provide healthcare services in private and public clinics, hospitals, and home-care services often face stressful, demanding work-related situations. In this post, Chicago worker injury lawyer will discuss some of the common injury risks faced by healthcare workers.
Some of the common work-related injuries and disorders that healthcare workers endure include:
- MSD and Repetitive stress disorders – According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), healthcare industry workers face seven times higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) compared to workers in other industries. These musculoskeletal disorders result from performing repetitive jobs, bending and lifting heavy patients, etc., which lead to slipped discs and a number of sprains and strains in the shoulder and lower back.
- Injuries caused by handling patients – Healthcare workers need to handle patients and lift or carry them for re-positioning, and help them move from one place to another. This increases the risk of stress related injuries, spinal injuries, exposure to airborne infections and pathogens, etc.
- Blood borne diseases – Healthcare workers have to handle needles and other sharp medical instruments that can cut or puncture the skin. This can expose healthcare workers to blood borne diseases and infections like HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, etc.
- Violence – Hospitals are zones where mental stress reigns and emotions are stretched tight. Healthcare workers, according to OSHA, are the most prone to physical violence at the workplace, than workers in any other industry. Injured criminals, felons looking for drugs, and even distraught or angry family members of admitted patients can resort to violence. This kind of violence usually results in broken bones, lacerations, head injuries, etc.
- Slips and falls – The hospital or clinic floors are required to be kept clean, and are constantly wiped. These partially wet floors or any spilled liquids can easily cause workers to slip and fall causing severe injuries like broken bones or head injuries.
- Work related stress – Work related stress disorders are very common among healthcare workers. Working in shifts, working overtime due to under-staffing issues, etc. can cause a number of metal injuries.
Claiming Healthcare Workers Compensation in Chicago
Workers in the healthcare sector should be aware that they can file a workers compensation claim should they get injured or become ill as a result of work they do. The workers compensation benefits cover medical expenses and loss of wages due to absence from work due to injury. Workers compensation also provides death benefits to the dependents of deceased workers. If the injury is a result of defective product or equipment, the worker may have a third party claim as well. It’s best to discuss your case with a competent Chicago workers compensation lawyer who can educate you on your rights.