If you’re a nurse or another type of healthcare professional, you probably realize that you are more at risk for a wide range of work injuries and illnesses than employees in other industries. Here are eight common healthcare worker accident scenarios, along with the importance of getting compensation for your financial losses and how a Mankato, Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can help you.
- MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS FROM REPETITIVE STRESS INJURIES
Healthcare workers have to repeat the same activities several times a day, which involve strain and overexertion. This can lead to muscular problems and repetitive stress injuries. These healthcare workers who do the same activities over and over, every day, include those, such as attendants, orderlies and nursing aids who must lift and transfer their patients.
- SPRAINS, STRAINS AND BACK INJURIES
It’s easy to understand why sprains and strains rank high in on-the-job injuries in the healthcare field. Consider how nurses and other healthcare workers daily lift their patients, which can impact the lower back and shoulders.
Lifting and transferring patients can cause disc damage, including slipped discs. Having to work in an awkward position, such as bending over or holding devices during a surgical procedure can cause back injuries. Often, back-related problems in nurses aren’t obvious at first but begin with a mild spasm that grows worse.
- SLIPS AND FALLS
One of the most common healthcare accidents is slips and falls. In fact, slips, falls and trips make up 25 percent of all types of injuries that occur to RNs. For example, spilt liquids on a slippery hospital floor can cause healthcare employees to fall. Other factors that can result in slips and falls include uneven floor surfaces, trailing cables, faulty lighting and poor housekeeping in healthcare facilities.
- NEEDLE STICKS
Healthcare workers are at risk for needle sticks caused by injections or routine blood draws. They also suffer from needle sticks when their patients are aggressive. Another example is needles that have not been disposed of properly or falling needles. Keep in mind that needle sticks can make you more at risk for the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other bloodborne diseases.
- WORKING MULTIPLE SHIFTS
Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities are understaffed. As a result, often healthcare workers have to work more than one shift. This can lead to them working faster because they don’t have other workers to help them, such as in transferring patients. What’s more, the stress from working long hours can result in illnesses and stress. Too many hours can lead to more accident and overuse injuries.
- HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS
Consider how healthcare workers are exposed in various hazardous chemicals, which can put them at risk for accidents and injuries. Also, they can also suffer from surgical smoke coming from electrosurgical devices and lasers used during surgeries. Besides containing chemical substances, surgical smoke can transmit different viruses and bacteria which can cause illnesses.
- INJURIES FROM VIOLENCE
People working in healthcare are also more at risk for violent attacks than other workers. If you work in a hospital, you especially more likely to be violently attacked since sometimes dangerous criminals are patients there and are on criminal hold. Injuries from such incidents are typically covered by workers compensation.
- MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESSES AND ADDICTIONS
After people have experienced violent attacks or traumatic accidents, they can suffer from serious mental health conditions such as PTSD that involve costly treatment and disability. Furthermore, severe injuries can mean having to take strong pain medications, which can lead to prescription drug addictions that were the result of a workplace injury or condition. Severe injuries can also lead to anxiety or depression.
WHAT TO DO IF INJURED AT WORK
- Report your injury or illness immediately to your employer. Even if you think you weren’t hurt or believe you are only mildly injured, you should still tell your supervisor.
- Be aware of deadlines—Your notice is considered on time if your employer is notified within 14 days following your injury. Notice after 14 days can still be effective. In some cases, it can be given up to 180 days after the injruy.
- Get medical care and note all parts that are injured
- File an accident report.
- Contact a highly qualified and experienced Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer.
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important you obtain compensation from your employer. Maybe you’ve been denied coverage, or you’re still unable to get your benefits. Workers’ comp covers your expenses after a work injury. Your workers’ comp benefits can pay for all your costs, including medical bills from your injury, lost wages and other expenses. For more information on our wide range of legal services, contact us.
Contact A Mankato Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Contact the law office of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter today at (507) 625-3000 for a free case review. We are located in Mankato, Minnesota.