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4 workplace hazards for nurses

| Mar 1, 2015 | Workers’ Compensation

The ability to help others and even save lives is one reason why nursing can be such a satisfying field. However, nurses are also exposed to workplace hazards that can lead to injuries and illnesses. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospitals are one of the most dangerous places to work in the U.S.

On average, U.S. hospitals record 6.8 work-related injuries or illnesses for every 100 employees. Any Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer knows that rate is double what private industry experiences as a whole. Furthermore, according to OSHA, nurses and nursing assistants account for a substantial share of work-related injuries in hospitals.

  • Back injuries. Nurses may be required, from time to time, to lift or move heavy objects, including equipment and even patients. Lifting or moving too much weight, especially from an awkward position, can apply strain and result in back injuries. This is especially the case when done over and over again. OSHA suggests that these work-related injuries for nurses may be on the right, given that hospital workers are getting older and obesity is rising.
  • Workload issues. Pursuant to greater operating efficiency, hospital administrators are motivated to run their organizations with small employee bases. One consequence is heavier workloads for employees, including nurses, who manage to avoid layoffs. As a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer is aware, this could lead to exhausted nurses, or less time to think about safety precautions.
  • Needlesticks. According to the Washington State Nurses Association, an estimated 700,000 needlestick injuries occur annually in the U.S. Nurses are oftentimes those responsible for administrating procedures involving needles to patients.
  • Workplace violence. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nurses suffer the largest number and the highest rate of non-fatal workplace violence. Nurses’ direct interactions with patients and those around them, during stressful times, make this difficult to avoid.

In addition to these hazards, latex allergies and toxic chemicals are among others that pose injury risks to nurses in the workplace.

Workers’ compensation may be available

Nurses in Illinois who sustain injuries in the workplace may have recourse to workers’ compensation. These benefits are available to help injured workers cover damages associated with their injuries, such as medical costs and lost wages. Securing these benefits is done through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act.

It is important to remember, though, that any benefits received represent losses incurred by employers and their insurers. Consequently, those parties should be expected to do whatever they can to avoid paying out benefits. For this reason, injured nurses may wish to solicit the help of a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer.