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Occupational injuries common among healthcare workers

On a daily basis, the men and women who work within the health care industry must perform a variety of physical tasks that put them at risk of suffering injury. For many, tasks involved with assisting, moving and lifting patients takes a tremendous physical toll at puts healthcare workers like nurses at an increased risk of suffering injuries to the neck, back and extremities.

From a nurse who experiences a sharp pain in her neck while helping move a patient to a home health care aide worker who suffers a chronic dull ache in her lower back, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports high incidences of musculoskeletal injuries among healthcare workers. For many, these types of injuries are not only painful, but also disabling.

There are several risk factors contributing to the high rates of occupational injuries among healthcare workers. For example, throughout the course of one shift, a 120 pound nurse may be tasked with caring for several patients, many of which likely outweigh her by one hundred or more pounds. Given the physical requirements of the nursing profession, in cases where a hospital fails to invest in equipment to aid in the safe handling of patients, it's almost impossible to avoid injury.

Hospital, nursing home and home health aide employers must work to educate and train healthcare workers about proper lifting and patient handling techniques. Additionally, research proves that incidences of injury among nurses and other healthcare workers can be significantly reduced through the use and implementation of mechanical hoists and other equipment as well as specialized lifting procedures.

Healthcare workers who suffer work-related injuries are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Often, when dealing with workers' compensation insurance providers, injured workers can benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney.

Source: CDC.org, "Safe Patient Handling," April 21, 2015

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