The Bollinger Law Firm, P.C.

High rate of workplace illnesses in hospitals

When North Carolina residents are injured, they go to a hospital to receive medical treatment-hospitals are places associated with recovery. Therefore, people may be surprised to hear that hospitals are among the most dangerous places to work in the country.

In 2011 alone, hospitals saw an alarming 253,700 workplace illnesses and injuries. This means that for every 100 full-time employees there were 6.8 work related injuries and illnesses. This was double the rate of illness and injury in the private sector. In fact, according to statistics available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the chance of a hospital related injury resulting in needing to stay away from work to recover is greater than in an injury related to construction and manufacturing-two industries thought to be highly dangerous.

In addition to the general slips and falls that are the risk of any workplace, working in a hospital involves a lot of lifting and moving patients not inherent to many other jobs. In fact, manually lifting patients increases the likelihood of falling and slipping and fractures. Employees at hospitals have to deal with unpredictable patients and a unique working culture because they often put their patients' wellbeing in front of their own.

No working environment is devoid of risks, but some are riskier than others. Every employee has the right to be protected from these hazards and, where their employers fail to create a safe working environment, the injured employee may be able to file a workers' compensation claim, which is also their right. It takes time to recover from an illness and often, unwell employees need to take time off from work-workers compensation can be used to cover these lost wages.

Source: OSHA, "Understanding the Problem," Accessed Dec. 22, 2014

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