Health Care Workers

Health care is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Besides hospitals and clinics, it encompasses dental offices, out-patient surgery centers, home health care, emergency medical care, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and long-term care facilities. Workers in these places of care number over 18 million and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), their rate of injury and illness is one of the highest of any private industry sector. Health care workers report injuries at a rate more than three times higher than manufacturing workers.

Types of Health Care Workers

There are many types of workers found across the health care industry. They include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Nursing assistants
  • Medical assistants
  • Paramedics and EMT workers
  • Patient transportation workers
  • Nursing home aides
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Housekeeping workers
  • Medical equipment maintenance staff
  • Food service workers
  • Building and grounds maintenance staff
  • Laundry workers

These workers are exposed every day to several serious safety and health hazards, such as:

  • Biological hazards and bloodborne pathogens
  • Injuries from sharps
  • Exposure to chemicals and drugs
  • Respiratory hazards from exposure to anesthetic gas, chemicals, and waste
  • Ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks
  • Slip and falls
  • Allergic reactions to latex and chemicals
  • Stress
  • Workplace violence
  • Radioactive materials and x-ray hazards

Common Work Injuries and Illnesses for Health Care Workers

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are perhaps the most common injury occurring in health care workers. MSDs are injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the extremities or back caused by heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling tasks. The bones, joints, nerves, and cartilage can also be affected, and symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, numbness, and tingling. Sprains, strains, and herniated or ruptured discs are examples of MSDs.

Repetitive motion injuries occur when a worker performs similar tasks using the same muscle groups on a repetitive basis throughout the day. Slip and falls are another major source of injury to health care workers and can result in serious disabilities involving broken bones, head and neck injuries, and back injuries. Illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C, are a risk for health care workers who experience a needlestick or sharps injury.

If You Are Injured in a Work-Related Accident

Many health care employers are vigilant about promoting safety in the workplace. They provide lifting equipment for moving patients, have sharps disposal programs in place, and hire staff in adequate numbers so that workers do not suffer from overexertion. Unfortunately work accidents do happen and if you suffer an injury on the job, you should seek medical care and report the injury to your employer immediately. An experienced South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in filing a claim, which will cover medical expenses related to your injury, wages lost if you cannot work, and disability benefits where applicable. Death benefits are available to surviving family members of a worker who suffers a fatality.

South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Advocate for Injured Health Care Workers

If you are a health care professional who suffered a work injury, the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP can help. We have experience representing all types of injured workers. Let us help you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve. Call us at 856-761-3773 today or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we assist injured workers throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Cinnaminson, Delran, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:
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Coronavirus COVID-19 UPDATE:

Please be advised that in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which imposed strict limitations on the operations of "brick-and-mortar" businesses and required telecommuting to the greatest extent possible, all N.J. workers’ compensation courts will continue to be closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until April 13, 2020.

In response to overwhelming requests from the Workers’ Compensation Bar to hold non-emergent matters electronically or by teleconference, as of April 6, 2020, the following Workers’ Compensation Judges shall be designated by the N.J. Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation as essential personnel and shall report to their home vicinages for the purpose of hearing as many Workers’ Compensation matters as possible by telephonic conferencing, including all emergent matters and the following non-emergent matters, pre-trial conferences, general motions for medical and temporary benefits, and settlements by affidavit:

Hon. Audrey Kernan, S.J., Atlantic City WC Courthouse
Hon. Arthur Marchand, A.S.J., Bridgeton WC Courthouse
Hon. Ingrid French, A.S.J., Camden WC Courthouse
Hon. Lionel Simon III, A.S.J., Freehold WC Courthouse
Hon. Diana Ferriero, S.J., Hackensack WC Courthouse
Hon. Jill Fader, S.J., Jersey City WC Courthouse
Hon. Glenn Kaplan, S.J., Lebanon WC Courthouse
Hon. Michael Luther, S.J., Mt. Arlington WC Courthouse
Hon. George Geist, S.J., Mt. Holly WC Courthouse
Hon. Ashley Hutchinson, A.S.J., New Brunswick WC Courthouse
Hon. Philip Tornetta, A.S.J., Newark WC Courthouse
Hon. William Roca, S.J., Paterson WC Courthouse
Hon. Maria Del Valle Koch, S.J., Plainfield WC Courthouse
Hon. Eugene Mulvaney, S.J., Toms River WC Courthouse
Hon. David Puma, S.J., Trenton WC Courthouse

The Division’s plan is to limit physical interactions in our workers’ compensation courts to the greatest extent possible and shift to the use of telephone conferencing, and if possible video conferencing for judges, attorneys, and litigants. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing motions for medical and temporary benefits and trials in which case social distancing will be enforced). Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.

The N.J. Division of Workers’ Compensation’s number one goal is to limit the exposure and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus to court personnel, attorneys and their staff, litigants, witnesses, and members of the public at large.

Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP also continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and its impact on our local community and the world at large. In accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, our office is closed and the members of the firm continue to work remotely. As such, the members of the firm may have limited access to information during this time. We continue to appreciate your understanding. We encourage our current clients, new clients, and fellow members of the bar to contact us via e-mail as that remains the best form of communication. All attorneys and paralegals have access to e-mail and case information. We have designated essential personnel to report to our office for the purpose of handling emergent matters only and to complete essential administrative tasks. Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP remains committed to complying with all health and governmental regulations. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those most affected by this situation.