Care for caregivers
When those who provide care and support for others become the patient themselves
What are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the United States? Most people guess construction or manufacturing. But you might be surprised to learn that a hospital is one of the most dangerous places a person can work. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a harder-working group of people than health care providers. Their constant exposure to high stress situations, toxic chemicals and even violent patients are some of the reasons behind a high rate of burnout and physical ailments.
In fact, hospital employees are nearly twice as likely to report work-related injuries or illnesses compared to workers in the private sector. In their goal to “do no harm” to patients, they sometimes put their own health and safety at risk. If you were injured or became ill due to your job in the health care system as a nurse, doctor or hospital staff, don’t be afraid to speak up. At Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers will protect your rights and ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Occupational hazards for healthcare workers
Nurses, doctors and other medical staff face dangers in the workplace each and every day. It’s not unusual for health care workers to experience a violent encounter with a patient, a needle prick or other physical and psychological hazards.
Professionals in the medical field also experience a higher risk of being exposed to toxic materials such as chemotherapy meds, cleaning supplies, smoke from laser surgical equipment or other hazardous chemicals. And let’s not forget the problem of understaffing at many hospitals across the country, which can mean staff are working longer hours while facing all of these dangers.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nursing assistants had the highest traumatic injury rate — more than twice the rate for all other healthcare personnel over a 2-year period. Interestingly, traumatic injury rates for physicians, residents, dentists and interns made up only about 1/10 of those incidents. Traumatic injuries are reported as slips, trips, falls, patient handling injuries and workplace violence.
Chart courtesy of cdc.gov
Common nursing injuries & accidents in hospitals
Nurses, doctors and other health care professionals do many different jobs in a given shift, so the way they can be injured or become ill vary greatly. Some of the most prevalent types of workplace injuries among health care workers are:
Health care workers are frequently exposed to potentially contagious infectious diseases and viruses. Sharp items are everywhere which can be contaminated with blood-based pathogens.
Hospital staff are often lifting, transferring and repositioning patients who themselves have limited mobility.
Nurses and doctors are also exposed to patients who may be suffering from mental health issues, which often increases the chances of a violent encounter.
Besides these risks, staff are still capable of experiencing overexertion, burns, repetitive stress injuries, strains, sprains, slips, trips and falls, fractures, cuts and punctures just like regular workforce employees. In fact, nurses and nursing aids are among the most at risk for musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs).
Georgia injured nurse compensation
If you (or someone you know who works in the medical field) recently suffered a work-related injury or illness, it’s important to file the appropriate documents that can move your workers’ compensation claim forward. Nurses and medical workers are actually more likely to suffer a workplace injury compared to other private industries. Getting hurt by slipping on a wet surface, straining your back while lifting a patient, or even becoming seriously ill because of your job — these scenarios are all covered by workers’ compensation.
Under Georgia law, hospitals, doctor’s offices and other medical facilities must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. All the injured staff member has to prove is that their injury or illness occurred on the job and is serious enough to require medical care and days of work.
The system allows for the injured worker to receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly income, and covers necessary medical treatment. In exchange, you can’t sue your employer for damages.
If a nurse or healthcare worker is diagnosed with an illness or injury so severe that they’re unable to continue working, they may be able to collect Social Security disability benefits.
Health and safety tips for nurses in the workplace
Healthcare professionals must be extra vigilant around unpredictable patients, sharp objects, potentially wet floors — and they must push back against employers if necessary to secure necessary downtime to rest and destress.
Hospitals and medical employers should assist in this cause by offering hazard identification and prevention training, continuing education training programs and offering nurses any tools to assist them in their daily jobs (such as moving heavy patients).
Safety awareness and injury prevention is a team effort.
Help protect your fellow co-workers from everyday hazards and go out of your way to remind others of the dangers they might encounter while working a shift. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. If you are injured or get sick at work, the good news is you should be entitled to workers’ compensation from your employer.
Workers’ compensation rules vary depending on the state where you were hurt. For more information on workplace injuries and other frequently asked questions about Georgia workers’ compensation and disability benefits, visit our FAQs page.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
We fight for Georgia’s nurses, doctors, healthcare workers & hospital staff
If you or a loved one are injured on the job while working at Emory, Anchor, Northside, Piedmont, or the Children’s Hospital or another hospital or medical facility in the Atlanta area, talk with one of our experienced work injury lawyers today. Put our expertise to the test and learn more about your workers’ compensation rights. We’ll make sure that you’re treated fairly at every step of the process.