The healthcare industry is not only the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing 18 million workers, but also one of the most dangerous.
Did you know that healthcare workers are at the highest risk for work-related injuries, surpassing workers in the construction industry and the mining industry? Nurses and assistants/aides have the highest injury rate of all occupations according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare workers experienced seven times the national rate of musculoskeletal disorders (low back sprain/strains, cervical sprains/strains, tendonitis, etc.) compared with all other private sector workers.
Studies have demonstrated that the high rate of injuries are due to a number of factors:
- Employer pressure to work at a faster pace
- Decreased staff-to-patient ratio
- Lack of safety programs in most medical facilities and hospitals
- Strenuous physical requirements – lifting, repositioning, transferring patients, accompanying patients to the bathroom, early intervention to mobilize patients immediately after a medical procedure
- Workplace violence and physical attacks by patients
- Needle sticks – Hepatitis, Blood borne illnesses (AIDS)
- Hazards causing workers to slip (liquids on the floor), trip, and fall (concussions)
- Mandatory overtime – twelve and sixteen hour shifts – sixty hour work weeks
- Biological hazards
- Chemical and drug exposures
- Drug addiction
As the population of Western Pennsylvania continues to age (and thus healthcare needs continue to rise), we can anticipate that the number of healthcare worker injuries will become even more alarming.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act require employers to provide our healthcare workers a healthy workplace. Workers also have a right to a safe workplace and the right to Workers’ Compensation benefits when they do get injured on the job. And, our Courts have long held that employers cannot retaliate against employees for exercising their rights under the law.
The attorneys and staff at Quatrinini Rafferty are uniquely qualified to assist injured healthcare workers because we literally “wrote the book” on Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania. We have helped thousands of injured workers over the past 30 years. If you are a healthcare worker, or you know a family member or co-worker who has suffered a work-related injury, we urge you to give us a call at (888) 534-6016 and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys. If you are unable to come into one of our offices in Greensburg, Latrobe, or Pittsburgh, we will make arrangements to come to your house.