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Healthcare Workers at Great Risk of Workplace Injury

When you consider the most dangerous industries to work in, you probably think of construction, mining, oil drilling and other fields where physical labor and heavy machinery combine to create high risk. While it is true that all of these industries can be dangerous, there is also another profession that is very risky that you may not be aware of: the healthcare field. 1158314_nurse_1.jpg

Our Boston work injury attorneys know that healthcare workers face a number of serious on-the-job risks. Workers in the healthcare field can suffer many different types of injuries, ranging from overexertion injuries to falling victim to violence by those to whom they are providing care.

Healthcare Workers Face Risks

Recently, the plight of some healthcare workers became public knowledge and has been making headlines throughout New England as a result of an attack on a staff member at Riverview Psychiatric Hospital. According to The Kennebec Journal, a staff member at the hospital was assaulted by a patient and suffered injury as a result. The staff member was apparently stabbed repeatedly by a patient who had a history of violence.

The attack raised concerns that the hospital is understaffed and that the security measures in place were not sufficient to protect workers from unstable patients. In response to the attack, security has been improved, but there still remain concerns about whether there are enough people working at the facility to control the dangerous patients who live there.

Of course, it would be easy to argue that workers take the risk of being hurt by violent, unstable patients when they go to work in a psychiatric hospital. Yet, these workers are not the only ones who are in danger of being subject to violent attacks by patients. Anyone who routinely provides care to potentially unstable members of the public could be at risk, including emergency room or hospital staff. Nursing home workers are also in danger of being the victims of acts by violent patients, especially if those nursing home workers work with elderly adults suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia whose behavior might become out of control due to their cognitive impairments.

Violence in the workplace causes serious injuries and fatalities among healthcare workers and it is imperative that every facility take steps to protect employees and to minimize the dangers of an assault occurring. Having adequate staff and having security procedures in place are both ways to help ensure that staff members have the protections they need.

Workplace violence is not the only risk faced by healthcare workers, either. Other top causes of workplace injury in this field include repetitive stress or overexertion injuries from lifting and moving patients and infection due to exposure to blood or bodily fluids from patients who are ill. Needle pricks or sticks can spread viruses and germs and are, unfortunately, not always preventable even when healthcare staff exercise care in performing tasks.

It is the obligation of employers to do everything possible to minimize these and other risks faced by those in the healthcare industry.

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Industrial Accident Injuries Don’t Get Much Press, But are Very Serious, May 1, 2013, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog