Due to an abundance of state-of-the-art equipment and medical experts around every corner, one might think that hospitals would be a safe place to inhabit. While many people think of hospitals as a place to go for healing, they are actually one of the most dangerous places you could work or visit. Injuries from hospital workers cost the industry more than $6 billion a year. Surprisingly, hospital worker injuries outrank their counterparts in construction, manufacturing plants, coal mines, and factories.
Because hospitals are widely considered to be a safe place to work, not many people understand the true dangers that are lurking in the halls of these buildings. In densely populated areas like New York City, these dangers are an even greater cause for concern. If you or a loved one has been involved in a workplace injury at a hospital, a team of lawyers at Shulman & Hill can help.
What Types of Hazards are Found in a Hospital?
There are many different hazards that one can come across while working in a hospital. Whether it is a simple slip and fall or a severe exposure to infectious agents, here are some of the most common causes of injuries that occur in hospitals:
- Sharp, contaminated objects such as needles or surgery implements are a hazard because they can lead to infection should an accident happen. This can impact both the soft tissue as well as the immune system.
- Moving and lifting patients is one of the most frequent causes of injury. Not paying attention to ergonomics can lead to pulled, torn, or strained muscles. Not only are these injuries painful, but they sometimes require surgery in order to heal.
- Working back-to-back shifts is common in the medical field. However, it is not good for you and can lead to fatigue and overexertion. As one might expect, this can be quite dangerous for the worker as well as patients under their care.
- Exposure to bodily fluids, infectious agents, and possible toxins can lead to foreign antibodies being introduced to your immune system. Many of these agents are curable but others, such as HIV, COVID, and HSV are not.
- Patients sometimes have adverse reactions to medications that sometimes lead to aggression and physical attacks on medical workers. There are a number of these injuries that can happen depending on the circumstances.
- Being constantly on the move puts hospital staff at risk of slipping and falling on smooth floors. Quick movements from patient to patient can lead to very common slip and fall accidents.
How Hospital Workers are Injured
Even though there are multiple ways in which hospital staff can hurt themselves, the leading cause of injury is moving patients. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to move someone. Injuries can happen whether you are pushing a patient in a wheelchair, helping them get in or out of bed, or lifting them onto a gurney. No matter how careful you think you are, these tasks can all be quite hazardous.
The biggest reason that repositioning patients can be such a problem is that other industries have safe lifting techniques that outline how to properly move various large, heavy objects. Unfortunately, none of those methods apply directly to moving people. Hospital workers are at a disadvantage because they do not really have an ergonomically correct way to move their patients. As one might expect, this often leads to injuries.
Are These Injuries Preventable?
Anyone that has had a job in a hospital is aware of how many different ways those that enter the building can be injured. From staff to visitors and patients, there are a number of ways injuries can happen. Unfortunately, you do not know what could happen on any given day. This makes it all the more important to pay attention to your surroundings and do everything in your power to prevent these injuries.
A large portion of the accidents that occur within a hospital are caused by negligence in one form or another. In those cases, there are precautions that could have been taken to prevent the accident from happening.
Even though there are no guaranteed ways to ensure you are never involved in an accident in the workplace, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of serious injury:
- Follow safe patient handling guidelines
- Fill out accident reports immediately following an accident
- If you need help moving a patient wait for help
- Make sure you are following the instructions for all machinery and equipment
- Follow the protocol for getting rid of hazardous items like syringes and other contaminants
While these steps can greatly reduce the number of accidents that happen, there is no way to completely eliminate them. If you or a loved one were unfortunate enough to be injured on the job, filing a workers’ compensation claim can help you receive financial help following a workplace accident.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured While Working in a Hospital?
Whether you were injured at work because of your own actions or the hospital’s, filing a workers’ compensation claim can give you the best chance of being repaid for your lost wages and medical expenses. You may be able to file a single claim that cites all of the damages caused by the accident. In other instances, you may have to seek damages from multiple parties.
Immediately after getting hurt at work, it is important that you report the accident to your boss. They will more than likely have you fill out an accident report. Although nobody enjoys filling out paperwork, this can actually cement the accident as a documented incident and make it difficult to dispute in a New York City workplace injury claim. Do not skip this step! Failure to report the accident can impact your whole claim. You should also see a doctor as soon as possible to have your injuries documented as well.
Why Shulman & Hill?
If you are injured at work—a place where you should feel safe—you want to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you may be entitled to. An attorney at Shulman & Hill can investigate the accident and build a strong case in your favor. Our team can fight to ensure that you are not left with crippling medical expenses that could come back to haunt you in the future. Contact Shulman & Hill today for a free consultation.