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Healthcare workers sacrificing their own health and safety for their jobs

When you or a loved are feeling ill or are in need of emergency medical care, you likely head to the nearest medical clinic or hospital. Healthcare facilities like hospitals are regarded by many as being safe havens where you are surrounded by caring and competent nurses and doctors who can immediately tend to your needs.

Given the view that many of us have about the healthcare industry and related facilities, statistics showing that hospitals are actually one of the most dangerous places to work are surprising. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2011 statistics show that injuries among healthcare workers were nearly two times "the rate for private industry as a whole."

Healthcare professionals like nurses and nursing assistants frequently suffer harm and injury related to acts of workplace violence, exposure to diseases and illness and patient handling. Therefore, it's imperative that healthcare employers take steps to protect their employees. Injuries including strains and sprains to the back region are among the most commonly suffered among healthcare employees who are responsible the daily care of patients.

During 2013 alone, musculoskeletal disorders made up more than 50 percent of the injuries and conditions that were reported by nursing assistants. Too often, these types of injuries stem from improper patient lifting and handling procedures. Nurses and nursing assistants are literally putting their own health and safety on the line for patients.

Consequently, these healthcare professionals are suffering painful injuries that result in missed work days and disabling and chronic conditions. While many hospitals throughout New York have invested in patient hoist and lift equipment and instituted new safety patient handling policies and procedures, there are times when a nurse must help a struggling patient.

For nurses and nursing assistants who suffer a sprain or strain injury, it's wise to file a workers' compensation claim. It's also wise to turn to an attorney for advice and assistance throughout the entire claims process.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Worker Safety in Hospitals," Dec. 14, 2015

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