Construction workers are required to wear helmets. Welders must wear their masks. But what protection exists for a nurses’ back?
Nursing assistants suffered more musculoskeletal disorders thanany other profession in 2017. That includes truck drivers, manual laborers, or plumbers. These injuries also caused them to miss five times as much work as the national average.
While hospitals and health centers provide some resources to help fight these numbers, the frequency of these workplace injuries is alarming. Can Minnesota medical centers afford to ignore this problem?
Why are these injuries so common?
A nurse puts themselves in danger every time they lift a patient. And yet they’ll have to do it several times a day.
When a nurse manually lifts a patient, especially large patients, they put strain on nearly every muscle group in their body. This can also cause micro-injuries to the spine that can really add up.
OSHA identifies the following as contributors to workplace injuries for nurses:
- Relying on their own “proper posture,” “proper body mechanics” or back belts to lift patients.
- Insufficient number of mechanical lifts on location
- Outdated, broken or overused lifting equipment
- Difficulty positioning the patient inside diagnostic machines (MRI, X-Ray, etc.)
- A patient medical emergency
Together with lack of employer dedication to the lifting equipment or plain patient stubbornness, it can be tough to keep nurses’ backs safe.
Are back injuries eligible for workers’ compensation?
To protect nurses everywhere, it is essential that healthcare employers stress the use of lifting or transfer devices. Without their proper use, they unnecessarily endanger their nurse and nursing assistants.
Repeated stress over time on joints and muscles from lifting patients and long hours on their feet can result in injuries that appear outside of work. These are not limited to a sore back, but can also include:
- Muscle strains or sprains
- Nerve damage or damage to spinal cord
- Shoulder, neck or lower back pain
- Pain in knees, ankles or feet
- Fatigue or worsening ability to concentrate
If you believe your pain was caused by a workplace injury, whether sudden or over time, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Contact our office for a free no hassle consultation with one of our Workers Compensation Attorney’s to determine if you are eligible for work comp benefits.