Does the Healthcare Industry Neglect Providing Safe Working Environments?

Hospital work come with many unexpected dangers. There are more injury cases in health care than any other occupation. Everyday obstacles like getting patients in and out of ambulances, wheelchairs, and stretchers can be extremely daunting on the body. Additionally, healthcare workers are often exposed to airborne illnesses, viruses, dangerous bacteria, and contaminated equipment. The damage can be acute, chronic and even fatal. And as the fastest growing sector of the US economy, with more than 18 million healthcare workers, healthcare workers are prone to a growing list of work-related injuries.

Many of these hazards are preventable, but workers continue to suffer injuries and illnesses directly inside hospitals and medical centers. The following are some of the most common causes of health care-related injuries:

  • Daily exposure to infectious diseases.
  • Management of toxins, pollutants and body fluids.
  • Needle stick injuries.
  • Deep cuts from surgical instruments.
  • Slip and fall accidents.
  • RSI or repetitive stress injuries from work-related tasks like lifting.
  • Shoulder pain from pushing wheelchairs.
  • Harm from mentally unstable patients.
  • Dangerous laboratory work.

Nurses and doctors can also suffer psychological injuries at work. They differ from physical injuries in that they are not usually caused by a defect or failure in the product or equipment used by the employee. They are mostly caused by an event that causes mental and emotional trauma to the worker. This includes handling critical-care patients, life and death situations, lack of supervision, or equipment failure. The injured employee may feel fearful, depressed, anxious, in shock or trauma, or even suicidal. Psychological or emotional injuries can also take longer to recover from than physical ones

There are a variety of methods and resources available to help employees recover from a workplace injury like therapy, counseling, and therapy options to cope with the trauma. Hospitals have the resources to deal with urgent emergencies as well as long-term rehabilitation needs.

Healthcare workers who sustain workplace injuries in the hospital may have to take time off work to heal and recover. This usually results in loss of income. As with any injury that occurs on the job, the first step is to file a workers’ compensation claim. All employees entitled to workers’ compensation, including hospital workers. This type of insurance can provide benefits that can pay for medical bills and lost wages. If you experience long-term health problems as a result of your job, you may be eligible for a direct settlement depending on the complexity of your case and the severity of your injury.

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