Most people are not surprised to learn of injuries to workers in manufacturing or construction, but, according to a recent report from the Missouri Department of Labor, the industry with the highest rate of injury in Missouri is the healthcare industry. In 2014, there were nearly 20,000 first reports of injury from workers in healthcare or social assistance, accounting for almost 20 percent of all injury reports for that year.
How Are Healthcare Workers Getting Hurt?
The hazards, health care workers face may not be falling from scaffolding or nail gun punctures, but they are very real nonetheless. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the top five causes of injury among caregivers are:
- Overexertion and bodily reaction. Nearly half of all healthcare worker injuries are caused by repetitive or stressful motion, such as bending, reaching, and lifting, often related to patient handling. Over half of these injuries result in sprains and strains.
- Slips, trips, and falls. Hospital floors are often wet and slick. Nurses and nursing assistants are expected to get to patients quickly, putting them at risk for a slip and fall. Falls result in sprains and strains, fractures, soreness or pain, and bruising.
- Contact with objects. Accounting for 13 percent of all hospital worker injuries, this category includes needle sticks and running into furniture or equipment and leads to head injury, fractures, cuts, and punctures.
- Violence. Healthcare workers can find themselves on the front lines of violent situations, especially in emergency rooms. While victims of violent crime are often brought into the ER, so are the perpetrators of the crime. Angry family members, drug addicts, and intoxicated patients all pose a threat to the workers who must deal with them.
- Exposure to substances. Healthcare workers must dispose of biohazardous material, handle toxic cleaning fluids, and work with patients who are infected with various diseases, all of which exposes them to dangerous substances.
The OSHA also reports that injury rates in the healthcare industry are expected to continue to rise as the workforce ages and as patients become increasingly obese and more difficult to lift and handle.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at work on the job in Kansas City you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.