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Nurses suffer extremely high rate of workplace injuries

We are probably not surprised to discover that a large number of workplace accidents involve manufacturing and construction employees. However, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics back in 2010, the industry with the largest number of non-fatal workplace injuries is in the health care field.

Nursing assistants and nurses are particularly prone to injury. In fact, the fear of suffering a debilitating injury for nurses is listed as one of the top occupational concerns.

Nurses appear to experience the greatest numbers of injuries due to the amount of lifting these professionals are required to undertake.  Nursing assistants and registered nurses reported close to 37,000 musculoskeletal injuries in a year.  However, not all nursing injuries are due to lifting alone.  Nurses also are often injured due to patient violence.  Patient violence appears to be inevitable since nurses have to deal with so many different sorts of physical and psychological conditions in their patients.  

Safety protocol undertaken by medical facilities can reduce the number of injuries, however.  According to the Kansas Department of Labor, there were 7,500 injury accidents in the state's health care industry this past year.  Though this figure is still too high, this was still a reduction from the number of such incidents we have seen in the health care industry during the past decade. 

One expert working out of Kansas City has authored a book on how to reduce the number of injuries that occur in the nursing profession, and this book was recently published by the American Nurses Association.  Educational materials such as this and addressing other safety issues outlined by OSHA may eventually lead to a greater reduction in injuries than what we are currently seeing.

More definitely can be done.  However, seeing that Congress has been slow to move at implementing new regulations, many of these safety concerns will only be addressed in litigation.  Though attorneys generally become involved in represented workers that have already been injured, holding medical facilities accountable for workplace injuries may force the needed changes with or without legislative action.

Source: Kansas Health Institute, "Report: Job injuries highest among health care workers," Phil Cauthon, Aug. 2, 2013

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