Even though North Carolina residents may hear a lot about construction worker injuries, they may not be aware that healthcare workers reported more than 150,000 workplace injuries than construction workers. In fact, healthcare workers outnumber construction workers two to one. The Public Citizen, highlighting the fact that more healthcare workers are hurt on the job than any other worker, outlined these statistics in a recent report.
Many safety advocates have been lamenting the fact that the very people who have dedicated their lives to ensuring loved ones are taken care of are the very ones who report the most workplace injuries and are afforded the least protection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to the report, OSHA conducts almost 20 times more inspections on construction sites than healthcare worker sites. Workplace injuries for healthcare workers may include back injuries from lifting patients, violence and latex allergies.
OSHA has tried to create a culture of safety by implementing healthcare safety standards and requiring that employers mandate safe patient handling, but has not implemented a rigorous standard for measuring and decreasing physical stress caused by lifting and moving patients. In fact, since 2011, the safety program created by OSHA to address worker safety only issued seven citations for unsafe ergonomic conditions, burying the rest of the citations under other legal terms that need a lot of evidence to back up.
As other industries become safer, healthcare workers continue to face hazards on the job every day. If these employees are injured on the job, they should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim against their employers to recover compensation to cover medical expenses and replace lost wages.
Source: USA Today, “In health care industry, who will keep workers safe?” Fatimah Waseem, Aug. 3, 2013