Most people don’t think of working in health care as a hazardous profession. But U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics show hospitals are the most dangerous workplaces, surpassing construction sites and manufacturing plants.
In 2019, the DOL says 221,400 job-related illnesses and injuries occurred in U.S. hospitals. The rate of 5.5 injuries for every 100 employees is more than double that of other private-sector industries.
Top five hospital worker injuries
Of the frequent injuries that force health care employees to miss work, the most common are:
- 48%: Overexertion and bodily reaction
- 25%: Slips, trips and falls
- 13%: Contact with objects
- 9%: Violence
- 4%: Exposure to substances
Repetitive strain injuries and risk factors
Health care workers are among those most commonly reporting a repetitive strain injury (RSI). Also known as repetitive stress injuries, these cases result from gradual damage to tendons, muscles and nerves from continual motion. Common RSIs include:
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
These conditions can occur in office workers and other staff from typing or using a computer mouse. Nurses and others can experience RSI from frequent lifting, repositioning and transferring patients.
Don’t ignore the symptoms
These injuries can appear minor, but they can limit a person’s ability to do their job even if treated promptly. RSI usually affects the neck, shoulders, back, forearms, elbows, wrists and hands. Symptoms include:
- Mild to severe pain
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
Seek immediate medical attention for workplace injuries
The key to recovering from any workplace injury is prompt medical treatment, whether it’s an RSI, an acute injury from lifting a heavy object or slipping on a wet floor. When an injury happens on the job, it’s crucial to take advantage of workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are injured and unsure of how to proceed, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands the requirements and deadlines for filing a claim. Workers’ comp is mandated insurance where there is no need to prove fault or assign blame. The bottom line is getting the benefits and treatment you are entitled to receive.