Health care workers nationwide, including here in Missouri, have an ethical duty to care for patients and protect them from harm. In many cases, they disregard their own health and safety while caring for patients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that, although the manufacturing and construction industries are known for being hazardous workplaces, the prevalence of workplace injuries in the health care industry causes more days off work than injuries in those other environments.
Typical hazards that health care workers are exposed to include moving and lifting patients, needlestick injuries and the dangers of trips, slips and falls. The environments in which these workers find themselves every day are unpredictable and can be surprisingly dangerous. Agitated patients have even been known to assault those who take care of them.
Hospital workers who are injured on the job are burdened with the high costs of medical care and lost wages incurred due to days off work while recuperating. Injured workers who continue working despite injuries put the safety of patients at risk of medication errors due to caregiver injury or fatigue. Patients are also at risk of falls, fractures and more.
Health care workers in Missouri who have suffered on-the-job injuries are typically required to report it immediately and seek necessary medical care. Postponing treatment may aggravate the injuries and could complicate the process of claiming benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance fund if the onset of the injury is not documented. The insurance program typically provides compensation for medical costs and lost wages. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide the necessary guidance and support throughout the claims process.
Source: osha.gov, “Worker Safety in Hospitals“, Jan. 2, 2016