The top risks nurses face on the job

At The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, in North Carolina, we work with clients in every occupation after they have sustained work injuries or illnesses, and we see firsthand that every field has its particular risk factors. Nursing is no exception.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a registered nurse in North Carolina, you are more likely to suffer injuries due to these circumstances:

  • Overexertion (typically lifting or preventing a patient fall)
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Violence
  • Contact with an object or equipment

The statistics show that overexertion accounts for 45.6% of the nursing on-the-job injuries, which makes it by far the most common hazard. You are particularly at risk because of the physical effort and movements that are a part of the job—repetitive motions, lifting, twisting and bending—and these are most likely to cause strains, sprains, tears and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Naturally, the amount of time you spend on your feet puts you at risk of slipping or tripping and falling. These types of accidents account for 25% of nursing workplace injuries. Violent events account for 12.2%, and contact with an object or equipment accounts for 9.8%. RNs also suffer workplace injuries due to exposure to harmful substances, such as needlesticks, but this type of accident is not as common as people may expect and represents a small percentage of nursing injuries.

Nurses are prone to lower back injuries when assisting patients.   Many of our clients in the nursing profession have injured their spinal disks while lifting a heavy patient or trying to turn a patient in the bed to change the sheets or pad.   These back injuries should be covered in NC as a “specific traumatic incident of the work assigned.”    But the employers and adjusters will often deny this type of claim due to “no injury by accident.”   Well, the adjuster is correct that there was no “injury by accident” but wrong to deny the case, due to the “specific traumatic incident” rule.   If this happens to you, contact us for help.

Nearly 75% of RN workplace injuries occur in hospital settings, and you are more likely to suffer an injury or illness if you have been at your current job for more than five years. More information about workplace illnesses and injuries is available on our web page.

Bob Bollinger, Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers’ Compensation Law

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