Nurses in Pennsylvania Are at a High Risk of Workplace Injuries
Nurses working in Pennsylvania’s hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities have a tough job to do. They provide a high level of care to the elderly and sick which can sometimes be detrimental to their own physical well-being.
They also have to see the most graphic and disturbing images. They also have to smell things that are atrocious. They also have to sometimes clean up messes that even some janitors in other settings would say is obscene.
To be a nurse is fraught with stress.
High Injury Rates for PA Healthcare Workers
Nurses as well as other healthcare employees are subject to higher rates of injury that various other worker groups in the US. In fact, in the case of nursing assistants, the rate of workplace injuries is three times that of other workers.
According to data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the injury rate of nurses is at par with construction workers, firefighters, and police officers.
In 2016, the rate of illness and injury among nursing assistants was 337 for every 10,000 full-time employees.
Over-Exertion and Physically Demanding Tasks
The federal government and the state government in Pennsylvania have published reports in the past, which show that the high rates of injury suffered by healthcare workers are primarily due to over-exertion.
Health care employees in the facilities across Pennsylvania are required to lift as well as move patients frequently. They must also continually run around to address the needs of the patients. As a result, the workers are at a higher risk of slipping and falling while rushing around, and exerting their bodies physically day after day.
Workplace injuries compel some healthcare workers in Pennsylvania to leave their jobs for good, while some others find it necessary to take leave of absence for long periods to recuperate from the injuries.
Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries
Nursing aides are more susceptible to musculoskeletal problems. In 2016, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders among nursing assistants was 181 for every 10,000 workers. As many as 9,927 injury claims for nursing assistants have been filed in the past five years. One-third of these claims include over-exertion as the prime cause of injury.
The punishing work schedules and an increasing rate of injuries remain a key cause of higher employee turnover rates in the healthcare industry in PA.
Nurses sometimes have to work around death. Sometimes they help bring people back to life or fail in this regard. There is a range of highs and lows in this job.
The Challenges of Understaffing at Nursing Homes
Charlene Harrington, professor emeritus at the Faculty of Nursing, University of California in San Francisco, opines that a lot of residents undergoing treatment in various nursing homes require a minimum of two nursing aides to help them move about.
Unfortunately, many long-term care homes lack sufficient manpower to provide that level of care. This means that in a lot of cases, a fewer number of aides are expected to care for too many residents, thereby considerably increasing the likelihood of injuries.
This problem gets further exacerbated by the fact that there is a lack of adequate guidelines from the state or federal governments to decide on the right staffing ratios in health care facilities.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer in PA
According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, any worker in PA, including a nurse or another healthcare worker is eligible for compensation against all types of work-related injuries and illnesses, if these occur during the course and scope of their work.
Prior to submitting their workers’ compensation claim, an injured health worker in Pennsylvania should consult a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation law.