It’s not surprising that the average hospital contains a lot of people with musculoskeletal injuries.
What is surprising is that so many of those people with bone and muscle problems are hospital staff.
Health care workers suffer more job-related injuries than do workers in other industries. Musculoskeletal disorders—especially back injuries—are the leading cause of workplace hazards for nurses, health aides, and other medical workers. Statistics from 2010 show an incidence rate of 249 injuries per 10,000 workers, which is greater than seven times the average rate for all occupations.
What is responsible for the crisis in health care worker back injuries?
A small proportion of workplace musculoskeletal injuries for health care workers are due to slips, falls, or chronic repetitive motions. Studies have found that the overwhelming majority of cases—over 98 percent, according to some researchers—are due to overexertion during patient handling, causing sprains, strains, or muscle tear injuries.
The advocacy group Public Citizen, which released a report about on-the-job injuries for medical personnel in July 2013, pins much of the blame on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The authors report that OSHA fails to conduct frequent safety inspections of hospitals and other facilities and is powerless to act against unsafe workplaces.
OSHA has responded by ramping up its campaign to raise awareness about musculoskeletal injury risks for health care workers. The agency has admitted that it lacks financial resources and manpower. However, it argues that hospital staff injuries can be reduced by closer attention to safe patient handling procedures.
For the injured Pennsylvania health care worker
If you have been working as a nurse, health aide, home health worker, orderly, or other medical professional, you need to be aware that on-the-job injuries are covered under the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. Even if you are partly responsible for your back, muscle, or bone injury, your employers’ insurance company must pay your injury-related medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.
Insurance companies have earned their reputations for stinginess. Before you begin fighting for the benefits you are owed, contact a Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer from Schmidt Kramer by calling 717.888.8888 locally or 888.476.0807 toll-free. We can fight aggressively on your behalf to get you the full compensation your case merits. Call us today to schedule a free, confidential case review and order a FREE copy of our informative brochure, Who Pays The Bills When You Are Injured At Work?