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Hospital Workers Face High Risk of Injuries and Illnesses on the job


Portrait of a tired female healthcare worker

A workers’ comp lawyer in Philly reveals why medical professionals are at risk

Hospital workers (including hospital orderlies, nurses, doctors, and medical technicians) face a high risk of injuries and illnesses on the job, according to a recent study conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Workplace injuries and illnesses for all professions have been declining in general in recent years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, injuries and illnesses among hospital workers (who are often eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits) remain relatively high, especially in recent years.

In 2019, hospitals workers nationwide had a workplace injury and illness rate that was almost twice as high as other industries, according to OSHA, which is responsible for regulating and enforcing workplace safety and health conditions in workplaces nationwide. In 2019, more than 221,400 hospital workers reported sustaining a workplace injury or illness. That figure works out to roughly 5.5 injuries or illnesses for every 100 full-time employee employees nationwide.

Hospital professionals, workplace injuries, and work-related illnesses

Work-related injuries routinely outnumber work-related illnesses among hospital workers, according to OSHA. Many years, the difference is 93 percent worksite injuries and 7 percent worksite illnesses among hospital professionals.

Hospital workers sustain injuries and illnesses on the job for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes of hospital worker injuries and illnesses include:

  • Muscle sprains and strains (roughly 54 percent of work-related hospital injuries) due to the physical nature of working in hospitals. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), which account for 34 percent of work-related hospital injuries, are common due to hazardous working conditions. MSDs can include muscle injuries, nerve damage, and injuries to the joints or tendons. Many MSD injuries occur due to repetitive physical tasks, which is why MSD injuries are often called overuse injuries or repetitive motion injuries.
  • Overexertion, especially due to overworking or working long hours (sometimes 12 hours or more in a row). Lifting patients, heavy objects, and other large items can put excessive strain on hospital workers’ bodies, especially in cases involving lower-back injuries.
  • Becoming infected due to cuts, punctures, and needlesticks caused by sharp objects (scapples, syringes, etc.) that may contain contagious bloodborne pathogens.
  • Skin disorders (the most common work-related hospital illness at 14 percent of all illnesses) due to coming into contact with dangerous or hazardous chemicals.
  • Respiratory conditions (10 percent of all work-related hospital illnesses) due to breathing in hazardous chemicals.
  • Broken bones due to slip, trip, and fall accidents, falling from a height, or being crushed by an object in the hospital.
  • Physical injuries due to violence in the workplace, whether it’s patients hitting hospital workers or hospital workers being attacked by fellow employees.
  • Healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), which are infections acquired in a hospital or another healthcare setting.
  • Airborne diseases such as the flu, measles, and whooping cough (Pertussis) due to hospital workers coming into close contact with infected patients.

These are just some of the reasons why hospital workers are at such a high risk of being injured or becoming sick on the job. In each case, hospital workers deserve the time and support they need to rest and recover from their work-related injury or illness. That’s why it’s important for sick or injured employees to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible about pursuing benefits.

How can a lawyer help?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you get injured or sick while working in a hospital. All you have to do is apply for workers’ compensation benefits and you’ll receive the support you need, right?

Don’t be so sure. In many cases, hospital workers’ applications for workers’ comp benefits are denied. Sometimes, it’s because insurance companies claim that the injuries or illnesses happened outside of work or that they’re pre-existing medical conditions. Other times, employers pressure employees to return to work too soon. That's why it’s critical that you talk to a lawyer right away to protect your legal rights and have an accurate understanding of your legal options.

Attorney Richard A. Jaffe and the talented legal team at the Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC in Philadelphia can help you navigate every step of the Pennsylvania workers' comp process and fight for the benefits you deserve.

Discover what a Pennsylvania workers' comp attorney can do for you. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located in downtown Philadelphia on John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

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