People rely on the care and hard work of nurses, aides and other hospital workers when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable. Those who work in these stressful settings often sacrifice their own well-being for the care and comfort of their patients.
In some cases, the injuries suffered by hospital workers can leave them unable to continue their jobs. Back injuries, as well as serious knee injuries and other joint problems, can cause ongoing pain, reduced strength and difficulty performing the necessary tasks at work. Illnesses acquired at work, such as MRSA or bloodborne illnesses acquired through an accidental needle stick, can also end someone's medical career. When that happens, these workers should absolutely consider filing for workers' compensation.
Hospital workers get hurt at higher rates than those in construction
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospital workers are at significantly elevated risk compared to people in other industries. In 2011, the most recent year analyzed for their report, 157.5 hospital workers out of every 100,000 full-time workers suffered injuries or illnesses that made them miss work.
That rate was only 147.4 out of 100,000 for construction workers. The average rate across private industry that year was 105.2 injured workers out of every 100,000. Those figures are quite sobering, as they make it clear how common it really is for hospital workers to sustain serious injuries while trying to care for others.
overexertion is a leading cause of injury to hospital workers
The single biggest cause of injury to hospital workers, responsible for roughly 48 percent of all reported injuries, was overexertion and bodily reaction. Lifting and moving patients, spending all day on their feet and engaging in repetitive motions while performing their jobs all leave medical workers at risk of serious injuries. Heavier and obese patients can lead to increased risk of straining or spraining something while engaged in patient care.
Another 25 percent of those injuries involve slips, trips and falls, while violence is responsible for 9 percent of those injuries. Spills, bodily fluids and other workplace hazards can cause hospital workers to fall. Patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol, those with dementia or mental health issues or those in custody while getting treatment all pose a risk of physical violence to hospital workers.
Workers' compensation protects hospital staff
Thankfully, workers' compensation in New Jersey protects those who end up sick or injured on the job. Injured hospital workers can receive medical coverage, benefits that offset a portion of their lost wages and more. The people who devote their lives to the care, health and comfort of others should not have to suffer and struggle financially because of injuries sustained in the line of duty.