Healthcare workers are easy to overlook when considering being injured while on the job. We tend to think of these individuals as there to help us whenever we are hurt or sick and forget that they can suffer from the same types of accidents.

Healthcare professionals work a wide variety of jobs that could put them at risk for injury. There is, of course, the work done with patients directly by nurses, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, and home health aides. Also, healthcare workers help transport patients, work in administration, and work in nursing homes.

If you are a healthcare worker and get injured on the job, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation. Knowing the possible causes can help understand the benefits you are entitled to.

Healthcare Workers Have a High Risk of Injury

Because healthcare workers may need to work fast in certain situations or handle potentially dangerous equipment, it is easy to see why a good number of them are injured regularly. Various injuries stem from numerous causes or tasks within the job description. Understanding the direct impact causing these injuries is paramount to avoiding them.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders are usually the result of prolonged or continued stress on the muscles, joints, and all the connective tissues in our bodies. These disorders can even extend to the nerves or cause herniated or ruptured back discs. All musculoskeletal conditions require recovery, meaning that a healthcare professional capacity to complete specific tasks becomes limited.

This kind of injury can be caused by things like overexertion due to patient transfers or repetitive movements over time as daily job tasks are carried out. Stress and understaffing also contribute as these two things can take attention from the task at hand and open you up for potential injury.

Accidental Needlesticks and Lacerations

healthcare workers may injured from Needlesticks and Lacerations

For some healthcare workers, needles and sharps are a part of the job. Unfortunately,  these are things your PPE will not protect you from. Needlesticks and lacerations can come from accidental movement by patients during a procedure, combative patients, improperly disposed of sharps, and even from dropping a needle.

These types of injuries can introduce some unknown variable into your system, causing illness or physical scarring depending on the causative event. Needle sticks are particularly scary as they can cause the spread of bloodborne pathogens.

Bloodborne Pathogens and Other Infections

Not only are bloodborne pathogens present in a medical setting, but there are also various infections a worker can contract. The most common pathogen is Hepatitis B, though there are plenty of others that you might find. 

Infections could be a simple cold from the airborne bacteria or a drug-resistant bacteria needing serious antibiotics or even a PICC line, like MRSA or Pseudomonas.

Pathogens can cause a wide range of illnesses that could take healthcare workers from their work for a prolonged time or even cause death. Needlesticks are the most common cause of bloodborne illness in healthcare workers, and exposure to infectious agents through patient care is the thing that results in other infections. So washing your hands is a must.

Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries are common in all sorts of work environments and often qualify for workers’ compensation. Slipping and falling can have a wide range of disastrous consequences. You could break bones, injure your spine, or even suffer from head trauma depending on how you fall and what you hit where. The severity may even cause you to miss a lot of work while recovering.

Slip and fall accidents are common, especially if spilled fluids remain on the floor for a prolonged period or if the staff is experiencing fatigue or rushing due to understaffing issues. Healthcare workers are much more likely to experience these injuries due to the heavy use of cleaning products to maintain a healthy and disease-free environment at a medical facility.

Repetitive Strain Injuries

It may sound a bit less severe, but the repetition of entering patient data into a database or their chart can cause injuries like tendonitis and carpal tunnel. These are commonly called repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). RSIs can affect your ability to perform tasks properly and can be very painful. Eye strain and eye fatigue are also injuries caused by data entry. 

Certain types of healthcare workers are more prone to these injuries. Medical administrative assistants and other professionals working on the administrative end of the healthcare field can be sitting and working at a computer all day and doing the same tasks repeatedly, which has proven to lead to these types of injuries.

Patient-Initiated Violence

Patients in a medical setting can become violent. This can occur for various reasons like confused mental states, drug use, or the condition that someone is suffering from. Lacerations, hematomas, bruising, and head trauma are all possible results of dealing with patients who get violent.

healthcare workers may face violent patient

After a Workplace Injury

When a healthcare worker is injured on the job, it may feel like there is no safe place to turn to for help. This should never be the case. Our legal team is here to inform you of the benefits you can obtain and ensure you are fairly compensated, no matter what.

If you are injured at work and are considering filing for workers’ compensation or another injury claim, contact Mottaz and Sisk Injury Law today to find out how we can help you.