Healthcare workers are crucial to the healthcare system providing an important link between doctor and patient. Their job is difficult, often involving long hours and physical labor in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home-care situations. The healthcare field is rapidly growing as the baby boomer population ages and needs care. The CDC estimates the number of healthcare workers in the U.S. at more than 18 million and almost 80 percent of healthcare workers are women.
Common Injuries in Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers are exposed to many different hazards every day leaving them at significantly higher risk for injury than the average worker. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of non-fatal injury and illness among healthcare workers is higher than for any other industry sector. Some of the injuries commonly seen in healthcare workers include:
Sprains and strains – These are the most commonly reported injuries among healthcare workers. Many healthcare jobs require workers to lift or reposition patients.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – Caused by repetitive motion injuries that occur from overuse. MSDs include slipped discs or herniated disks as well as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. According to OSHA, healthcare workers develop MSDs at a rate seven times higher than the average worker.
Head injuries and broken bones – Can happen in slip and falls on slick surfaces from spills or clean ups in healthcare facilities. Incidents of workplace violence are also common in hospitals and clinics.
Infections – Often caused by exposure to biomedical waste
Occupational illness – These include blood borne infectious diseases from needlesticks and sharps. When a healthcare worker is accidentally stabbed by a used needle or other sharp medical tool they can be infected with diseases carried by sick patients.
Workplace violence is unfortunately a significant risk for healthcare workers. From 2002-2013, OSHA statistics show that healthcare workplaces had a rate of serious violent incidents four times higher than in private industry. Healthcare workers may be required to deal directly with patients under the influence of drugs, who are delirious, or who have a history of violence. Hospitals and other medical care facilities should take care to provide adequate security for workers and others.
Another factor that contributes to healthcare worker injuries is the chronic understaffing of some facilities. When workers must work long or back-to-back shifts to make up for missing staff, their risk of many types of injuries increases.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
Healthcare workers who are injured on the job have access to Workers’ Compensation benefits which cover medical treatment and other costs related to the injury. Wage loss benefits are available for those who miss work while recovering from their injuries. Temporary or permanent disability benefits are also available as are death benefits for the families of workers whose injuries prove fatal.
A personal injury claim cannot be brought against employers, but if a third-party, such as the family member of a patient, was responsible for your injuries then they may be held liable for their actions through a personal injury claim. This type of claim can recover additional damages for pain and suffering not available through Workers’ Compensation.
Delaware Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Injured Healthcare Workers’ Right to Workers’ CompensationIf you have suffered a work injury, speak to an experienced Delaware work accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow who can assist you with your Workers’ Compensation claim. Our team will provide you with personalized legal representation and fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available for your case. Call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford offices at 302-422-6705 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation. We serve clients upstate and downstate Delaware, including those in New Castle Delaware.