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:
- 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
- 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.