About $7 billion is lost each year in Alabama and across the U.S. each year in workplace injuries -- just in the healthcare professions. That's more than any other field according to a recent report. The job-related injuries being counted in the report are the musculoskeletal injuries that are suffered by orderlies, nurses, nurses' aides, and hospital and medical office attendants.
Some comparisons are in order. Most people would assume that the highest rate of workplace injuries would occur in the construction fields, but this is not the case. According to a recent report, in 2010, the construction fields employed 9.1 million workers who suffered a total of 74,950 work-related injuries -- that works out to about one in every 121 workers being hurt on the job. The healthcare and social assistance fields, by comparison, employed 18.9 million workers who suffered a total of 176,380 work related injuries -- that works out to about one in every 107 workers being hurt on the job.
Healthcare workers are exposed to blood borne pathogens that can be transferred to them through sharp devices. They are also required to lift patients and move heavy medical equipment. The report recommended that lifting and transfer aids should be made a requirement in healthcare facilities and remain available during all work shifts and faculty units.
Unfortunately, a proposed federally mandated standard which would have required healthcare workplaces to have employer-implemented ergonomics programs as a means of preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders was shot down in 2001 by a combined House and Senate effort. The workers' compensation laws in Alabama, however, provide valuable insurance coverage to employees in the healthcare fields that suffer job-related injuries. Employees who suffer work-related injuries or disorders in any field are typically eligible for workers' compensation. If it appears that an employer is not cooperating with a worker who was injured on the job, it is in the best interests of the employee to seek the assistance of those who are both knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to effectively obtaining workers' compensation benefits.
Source: medpagetoday.com, "Workplace May Be Unsafe for Healthcare Professionals," Cole Petrochko, July 19, 2013