Why Are There So Many Workplace Accidents in the Healthcare Industry?

Hospital work is highly charged with risks and dangers. There are more injury cases in health care than any other occupation. Everyday tasks 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. As the fastest growing sector of the US economy, with more than 18 million healthcare workers, society’s favorite heroes 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 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 even suicidal. Psychological or emotional injuries can also take longer to recover from than physical ones.

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 U.S. employees are entitled to workers’ compensation, including hospital workers. This type of insurance provides 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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