Nurses at risk for a variety of workplace injuries and illnesses

Many nurses are at serious risk of becoming injured in a workplace accident as a result of their job requirements.

Although nurses and other hospital workers dedicate their lives to taking care of people on a daily basis, many do not anticipate that they may become patients themselves. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, people who work in the hospital industry suffer from more occupational injuries and work-related conditions than in any other type of private industry. Nurses are often put in stressful situations, work long hours and may lack the staff support they need to complete their job effectively. As a result, a number of nurses are tired, malnourished, overworked and more susceptible to a workplace accident.

Types of injuries

Almost half of all workplace injuries that are reported to OSHA involve workers who strain or sprain their muscles while caring for patients or lifting heavy objects. When nurses care for patients, they are required to lift, transfer and reposition them repeatedly throughout the day. These repetitive movements can take a toll on a nurse's body over time. In addition, nurses may become injured from slip-and-fall accidents, needle sticks and lacerations. Nurses may eventually develop certain back conditions, such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disorder, herniated disks and arthritis as a result of work conditions as well.

Preventing injuries

According to the American Nurses Association, there are ways that employers can minimize the potential of on-the-job injuries. A few of these injury prevention techniques include:

• Organizing a committee to oversee the ergonomic techniques used in the nursing department.

• Survey the employees in the department in order to gain an insight into employee experiences and pending concerns about their safety.

• Conduct a regular walk-through of the departments to ensure the right techniques are being implemented, which would limit nurses' risk of injury.

• Invest in equipment, such as high powered ceiling hoists, that would assist nurses and other hospital staff in their daily tasks.

By taking a proactive approach to preventing workplace injuries, hospitals could save money that they may otherwise lose to workers' compensation claims, training programs and handling a high nurse turnover rate.

Getting legal assistance

Nurses and other healthcare employees who have developed a medical condition or have been injured due to a workplace accident may be eligible for workers' compensation. Whether you are unable to return to work because of your injury or you need assistance filing for workers' compensation, an attorney in Minnesota may be available to answer your questions.