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The Most Common Injuries for Nurses & Healthcare Workers
Written On Behalf of Butts & Johnson by: FindLaw
Edited By: Cecily Johnson
Nurses and others who work in the healthcare field can be at risk of contracting any number of viruses and other serious conditions by exposure to sick patients – even with all of the safety protocols they practice and protective gear they wear. However, nurses are also prone to a number of common injuries due to the physical demands of their jobs. That’s particularly true for those who work in hospitals and other congregate settings like nursing homes.
A 2016 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed the most common nursing injuries. Let’s look at the top three:
1. Overexertion and Bodily Reaction
These were the most common. They can be caused by excessive physical effort, like lifting a patient, repetitive motions and bending and twisting. Back injuries are particularly prevalent. Older nurses (those between 45 and 64 years of age) are most likely to fall victim to them.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Over a third of these injuries are caused by slipping on wet floors. Everything from spilled medication, bodily fluids and freshly cleaned floors can cause a slipping hazard. However, all of the cords that keep the myriad machines working are tripping hazards. Nurses over 50 years of age report the greatest number of falls.
Nurses and other medical professionals – especially those who work in emergency rooms — sometimes have to work with inebriated patients, mentally-ill patients and gang members and families who continue their fights even as one of them is being treated for injuries. Some patients have bad – and sometimes violent – reactions to medication. As commonly reported as these incidents are, they’re actually underreported. Therefore, they occur more often that statistics show.
These are just the top three. Other risks, like exposure to toxic substances and injuries from needlesticks and other equipment can cause serious harm as well.
Many of these injuries require medical treatment and time away from work to heal. That’s why it’s essential that these employees get the workers’ compensation benefits to which they’re entitled. If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or you’re being required to return to work before you’re able, it may be wise to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can work to protect your rights.