Injuries on-the-job can occur in any field. However, those in the healthcare field, including nurses, face a very substantial risk of being harmed while at work. Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns that a hospital is actually one of the most dangerous places to work in the United States. More than 253,000 work injuries and illnesses happen in hospitals, which means there are 6.8 work-related illnesses and work-related injuries for every 100 full-time workers in a hospital.
If a nurse sustains injury in a hospital setting, he or she should be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Nurses can get covered for many different kinds of physical injuries that are suffered on-the-job. If a healthcare professional is made sick as a result of the performance of work duties in the healthcare field, workers' comp benefits should also be available to provide coverage for treatment of the injuries as well as disability benefits.
There are a wide variety of different kinds of workplace illnesses that could happen and could result in a nurse being entitled to receive benefits through workers' compensation. Some of the most common causes of injury for nurses include:
- Overexertion injuries: Nurses must lift, position, and transfer patients. Some of those patients are heavy. Safely handling patients is essential, but even when following best practices, some nurses will suffer overexertion injuries. Injuries due to strains and sprains are responsible for 54 percent of injuries sustained by healthcare workers which cause them to take days away from work.
- Illnesses from exposure: Nurses can be exposed to dangerous contagious pathogens. This can occur through an accidental needle stick or when interacting with and providing care to patients. The most common illnesses which healthcare workers are diagnosed with include skin disorders and respiratory conditions.
- Acts of violence: Violence has become a major problem for healthcare workers, who are around five to 12 times more likely to suffer an act of violence at work compared with the average private sector work. Safety and Health Magazine reported Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently working on a workplace safety standard which would standardize the steps employers must take to try to protect healthcare workers from acts of violence that occur on-the-job.
- Slips and trips: Nurses can slip when they are trying to move patients, or as a result of slippery floors or cluttered spaces in healthcare setting. OSHA indicates slipping without falling is more common than slipping and falling, but both cause days-away-from work for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
If you suffer these types of injuries, or any others, while working as a nurse, you should find out about your right to receive workers' compensation for nurses. A legal professional can help.