Our healthcare workers perform some of the most vital work in the state, not to mention the country. Doctors, nurses, technicians, nurse practitioners—we associate everyone in the industry with health and wellness, but we rarely take the time to think about the dangers and risks they take every day just performing their jobs. In truth, however, hospitals and healthcare settings are some of the most hazardous places to work.
Working in the healthcare industry is a risky and demanding job, encompassing a wide variety of careers—from home care worker to surgeon—and each has its own specific on-the-job dangers. In fact, more workers suffer injury in the healthcare sector than any other. In just one year, the healthcare/social assistance industry reported 653,900 cases of injury and illness. Workers’ compensation is designed to protect these workers in the event they are injured while performing their jobs.
What causes on-the-job injuries to healthcare workers?
There are dozens and dozens of different jobs in the healthcare industry, but there are still some common risks for injury and illness to an employee. These risks include:
- Sharp objects. Healthcare facilities and hospitals have more needles, scalpels, and other sharp tools than the average workplace. It’s not uncommon for accidental cuts or needle sticks to occur.
- Slips and falls. Although slips and falls can happen in any workplace, healthcare settings tend to deal with biological and hazardous materials. Accidents and spills, and then slips and falls, can happen. Wires from various pieces of equipment can also cause tripping hazards.
- Exposure to toxins. Hospital and healthcare workers may spend a lot of time exposed to bodily fluids, blood, or infectious disease. When conditions are unsanitary or an employee isn’t properly protected, contamination or illness can occur.
- Moving immobile patients. Many patients in healthcare settings have limited mobility and are confined to gurneys or wheelchairs. When workers must consistently move patients in and out of beds or chairs, they can suffer neck or back injuries.
- Unpredictability. For a healthcare worker, every day on the job is a unique experience. Employees can’t predict how a patient might behave or react to medication. They must constantly be ready for any situation to keep their patients and themselves safe.
What are some typical injuries healthcare workers suffer on the job?
The hazards we discussed above can result in many types of workplace injuries, but researchers have found several that tend to crop up over and over again.
- Needle stick injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Broken bones or head injuries from slips, trips, or falls
- Sickness and infections from pathogens
- Blood-borne infectious diseases
- Sprains and strains
- Back and neck injuries
- Injuries from violent or unstable patients
If you sustain an injury on the job, whether it happens in a sudden accident or slowly over time, you deserve compensation. Our Chattanooga workers’ compensation lawyers know what it takes to build a successful claim. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we will put our skill and experience to work for you. We serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all surrounding counties. Call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation.