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Medical professionals nearly top list of workplace accidents

Readers in the Kansas City area, particularly those who work in hospitals or other medical facilities, may be interested to learn that among the various types of professionals, those who work in the health care field are among the most likely to suffer from a workplace accident.

As one example of the risks these employees face, injuries are common when nurses and other staff attempt to move a patient. Particularly when lifting patients who choose not to cooperate with staff or patients, or those who are grossly overweight, an employee can hurt his or her back or arms. This results in missed time from work and workers' compensation claims.

To better control this inherent safety risk, several hospitals have taken a series of steps that ensure the safety of both the patient being lifted and the caregivers doing the lifting. This program includes not only training for employees, but also better equipment that can reduce both the number and the severity of lifting injuries. Some hospitals have reported that, as a result of the program, the number of workers' compensation claims have fallen by about 40 percent.

Hospital and other medical workers in Missouri face other risks as well. One person in human resources said that she has seen many health care employees accidentally poke themselves with a dirty needle. Violent or aggressive patients also pose risks about which members of the public might not think.

Employees in Missouri's health care facilities are more likely to suffer a significant accident on the job, even more than those in traditionally "dangerous" jobs, like farming or mining. While, ideally, every Kansas City resident would come home each day from work safe and sound, those who do have the misfortune of getting injured may be able to benefit from Missouri's workers' compensation system.

Source: Utica Observer-Dispatch, "Health care workers near top of the list for getting hurt on job," Amy Neff Roth, Sept. 15, 2013.

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