While nurses dedicate their careers to helping people with injuries and illnesses, often their own health is not given as much attention. However, nurses face several on-the-job injury risks as they go about their day-to-day tasks.
On-the-job injuries should not be ignored, especially by health professionals who often face particular types of injuries linked to the work they do. Workers’ compensation claims can be an important step in seeking the appropriate payment for medical bills, lost days at work and other financial damages that result from workplace injuries. Here are three common injury risks for nurses and health care workers.
1. Repetitive strain injuries
OSHA, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said more workers are injured in the health care sector than in any other. Nurses suffer from the highest rate of musculoskeletal disorders (commonly described as repetitive stress or repetitive strain injuries) of any occupation. Compared to the national rate of 34 workers per 10,000 who are injured with musculoskeletal disorders, nurses suffer at a rate of 249 per 10,000. Common types of RSIs include inflammatory injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendinitis.
2. Sprains and strains
The work of a nurse often involves moving and lifting patients, which can result in sprains and strains, as well as bruises and soreness. These on-the-job injuries should not be overlooked or minimized. When a sprain or strain occurs and the health care worker ignores the injury or continues to strain the area, it can result in the aforementioned repetitive stress injuries that develop with cumulative actions.
3. Slips and falls
Another area of risk for nurses and health care workers is the possibility of suffering an injury due to a slip or fall. While this type of injury can occur at any workplace, it accounts for 25 percent of the injuries among health care workers.