Workplace Injuries in Healthcare

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 27-Feb-2017

When people think of “workplace injuries,” what often comes to mind is machinery accidents or construction accidents. However, what many people don’t realize is that healthcare, a seemingly safe occupation, can be very dangerous.

Generally, the term “healthcare” refers to any type of health-related services, which are rendered to individuals of all ages. Healthcare services can occur at doctors’ offices, hospitals, birthing centers, emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and in nursing homes.

While all healthcare occupations present their share of hazards, hospitals in particular pose serious safety risks. From slipping on freshly-waxed floors, to needlesticks, to lifting patients, to agitated visitors and sometimes highly-combative patients – working in a hospital can be both dangerous and unpredictable.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers have a higher chance of missing days from work because of an injury or illness than in construction and manufacturing, which are two industries that are commonly believed to be more dangerous than most occupations, including healthcare.

Common Hazards Faced By Healthcare Workers

If you work in healthcare, you’re probably very familiar with the various hazards that you face every day, but for those less familiar with these common dangers, we’re going to list some of the most serious health hazards, which include:

  • Biological hazards
  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Lifting hazards
  • X-ray hazards
  • Respiratory hazards
  • Drug and chemical exposure (e.g. formaldehyde and ethylene oxide etc.)
  • Laser hazards
  • Workplace violence
  • Slip and fall hazards

How many healthcare workers become injured or ill? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry than any other.” OSHA goes on to say that the healthcare industry has “one of the highest rates of work related injuries and illnesses.”

In 2010, the social industry and healthcare sector had the highest number of illnesses and injuries, more than any other private sector – 653,900 cases according to OSHA. Interestingly, that number was 152,000 higher than the number of cases in the next leading sector, which was manufacturing. (Source: OSHA)

If you were injured while working in the healthcare industry, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more, contact our firm to meet with a New York workers’ comp attorney for free!