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Common hazards for nursing home workers

Much of the negativity toward nursing homes, assisted living facilities and similar establishments focuses on the abuse and neglect the elderly experience at the hands of staff members. While this certainly does happen, just as common is the danger these places pose to workers themselves.

In fact, OSHA shares that the highest rate of injury and illness occurs in this specific niche of health care than in any other industry. The hazards employees face are many in this field and can result in eligibility to file a Colorado workers' compensation claim.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Assisting senior patients requires lots of lifting and moving, sometimes with limited help due to understaffing or a lack of proper equipment. You may end up with chronic back pain or a strained muscle, among other injuries. Your employer must follow OSHA's recommendation on providing an ergonomic environment to reduce risk.

Diseases

Naturally, interacting with sick residents increases your likelihood of getting sick. Some illnesses are common and mild, but others can be highly dangerous. These often spread due to exposure to bodily fluids, including from needlesticks. Others may come from exposure to toxic chemicals and prescription drugs.

Falls

Wet floors can cause you to slip and fall, and obstructions in walkways can lead to tripping and falling. Various injuries can result from these situations, such as broken bones, sprains and lacerations. Improperly stored equipment can also fall onto you, as well as heavy patients as you try to move them.

Abuse

Abuse not only happens to the elderly, but also to nurses and aides. Residents can hit, bite or scratch you. They may also be verbally abusive or sexually harass you. Likewise, such treatment may also come from coworkers. The nursing profession is notorious for bullying, and you may receive harm from your own peers and superiors. Regardless of the perpetrator, abuse is not okay and warrants legal action.

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