Hospital workers have one of the most important and selfless careers in the country. In addition to dedicating long, grueling hours to caring for sick patients, they also risk their health on a daily basis. Many people think of hospitals as safe places. However, there are numerous occupational hazards that employees frequently encounter.
If you work at a hospital and were injured on the job, you could be entitled to compensation to account for your losses and assist with your recovery. To find out more, contact a Manhattan hospital workplace injury lawyer at Shulman & Hill today.
Hospital Workplace Injuries by the Numbers
According to a 2013 report from OSHA, hospital workers face more risks than the majority of other industries. In fact, the rate of hospital workplace injuries is higher than that in the construction and manufacturing industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also noted the following:
- In 2011, a reported 253,700 hospital workers in the United States became ill or hurt due to their work responsibilities. This equates to 6.8 injuries for every 100 full-time employees.
- 58,860 of those injuries or illnesses resulted in time off of work.
- Hospital workplace injuries result in more days away from work than workplace injuries across the entire private industry, including construction and manufacturing.
Why is the Workplace Injury Rate So High in Hospitals?
Hospital workers encounter many risks to their safety on a regular basis. Some of the hazards hospital workers experience include:
Injuries from Lifting, Positioning, and Transferring Patients
Larger patients with limited mobility can be especially tricky to move safely. Healthcare workers go through training to learn the proper procedures for lifting patients to minimize the risk of injury to themselves and patients. However, because of the frequency and speed patients may need to be transferred, injuries can still occur.
Scenarios that make lifting unsafe may arise at any time. For example, if there is an emergency and there are not enough people around that can help, a hospital worker may move a patient without assistance.
Exposure to Contagious Patients
Every hospital employee has the potential to be exposed to dangerous illnesses. Hospitals should have strict procedures in place for interacting with and treating contagious patients, including offering sufficient personal protective equipment to each worker. However, they do not always find out about their contagious illness right away. By the time they are diagnosed, sometimes a considerable number of people have been exposed.
Sharps are defined by OSHA as a “contaminated object that can penetrate the skin.” Sharps include things like hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpels, lancets, and wires. OSHA has specific standards in place for handling and disposing of sharps. However, in a chaotic, emergency scenario, accidents can and do happen.
Risk of Being Injured by Patients
Hospital employees may work with agitated and violent patients. Individuals who are in a violent state can inflict serious injuries on hospital workers.
Steps to Take to Help Prevent Injuries in Manhattan Hospitals
- Practice safe lifting tactics. Repeated stress on your back from lifting patients over a long period of time has been proven to lead to long-term injuries. This risk increases exponentially when lifting is done without the proper technique or assistance.
- Use equipment safely. Hospital workers use a lot of equipment and machinery regularly that has the potential to injure the user. Even pushing someone in a wheelchair poses a risk.
- Placing contaminated objects in designated, FDA-approved containers immediately after use. In the event of an injury involving a contaminated object, the employee should immediately report the injury and undergo testing for certain blood-borne illnesses such as AIDS and hepatitis.
- Report all accidents as directed by your company’s policies. This can be an important step towards ensuring that whatever conditions caused the accident or illness can be corrected. If possible, reporting accidents can help to prevent future incidents.
Can Manhattan Hospital Workers Be Compensated For Their Injuries?
Many people who have not suffered a serious injury or illness before may be shocked at the financial impact it can have on their life. Even when you work at a hospital and are familiar with the cost of medical care, it can be jarring to see the cost of your medical bills. Good health insurance can make a difference, but it does not solve the problem. If you end up needing to pay for rehabilitation services, or another form of higher care as a result of your injury or illness, those costs can quickly multiply.
On top of hefty medical bills, lost wages can also worsen your financial situation, particularly if your injury requires you to take a long-term or indefinite leave of absence from work. These financial hits, combined with the physical toll on your body, can lead to a great deal of stress.
Our Manhattan hospital workplace injury law firm can help injured employees obtain compensation to repair the financial damage they have incurred. Workers’ compensation offers payments to ease the burden of injured employees while they are unable to work. Workers’ compensation can be a huge help, but the process of filing a claim can be difficult. To receive these benefits after an injury, you need to prove the following:
- Your injury was a direct result of something that happened at work while you were on the clock.
- You did not purposely harm yourself to collect benefits or receive paid time off of work.
One of our Manhattan workers’ compensation lawyers can help you file a claim for benefits, and represent you in the event that your claim is denied.
How Can Shulman & Hill Help Injured Manhattan Hospital Workers?
Our experienced Manhattan hospital workplace injury lawyers can investigate the circumstances surrounding your injury thoroughly to make sure your claim has the best chance of being approved. This includes helping to gather the necessary evidence to prove that your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you work at a hospital and were injured on the job, call Shulman & Hill today at 212-221-1000. You can also schedule a free consultation online.