The amount of workers in the healthcare field continues to expand every year with the growing and aging population.
Unfortunately, the amount of healthcare workers that miss at least a day or more of work due to injury continues to grow as well. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) carries out relatively few inspections in the healthcare industry. When they do locate problems, they are limited because of the absence of much needed safety standards.
While the healthcare industry employs twice as many workers as the construction field, for every one OSHA inspection in healthcare facilities there are twenty in construction sites. It was calculated that 52,179 construction inspections occurred in 2011, while there were only 2,504 inspections in medical assistance facilities. There is clearly a need for more safety regulations, enforcements and inspections in the healthcare industry.
The cost of health provider work injuries every year is astronomical. Below are the most common accidents and injuries that occur in healthcare every year:
Back injuries. Due to the demanding physical nature of most healthcare jobs, back injuries are estimated to total $7 billion per year. These injuries often happen due to moving patients or picking up heavy items.
Overexertion.Repetitive stress causes serious injuries. Healthcare workers are seven times more likely than other workers to develop musculoskeletal disorders.
Needle sticks.Due to the amount of needles healthcare workers may use on a daily basis, they are highly prone to cuts and puncture wounds caused by these needles, which can actually carry blood borne diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis B and C.
Violence. Hospitals often house drug addicts and mental patients who can have violent outbursts that cause serious injury to their caregivers. Hospitals are also victims to robberies because of the amount of drugs in the facility.
Head Injuries.These are often the result of slipping and falling in the workplace.
There are currently 18 million workers in the healthcare field, 80% of whom are women. This number is growing at a high rate, and more safety measures need to be taken to ensure that the industry becomes safer for workers.
If you or a loved one is a healthcare worker and has suffered from personal injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.