When we think of workplace injuries, we typically think of construction workers or Hollywood stunt men. It seldom occurs to most of us that professionals who work indoors – doctors, lawyers, nurses – also suffer on-the-job injuries. But according to a surprising new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses, nursing aides, orderlies, and hospital attendants are the victims of more musculoskeletal injuries than people in any other profession. Despite the laudable efforts of the American Nurses Association (ANA) to establish nationwide safety standards for nurses, little is being done.
Injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are common among nurses and are usually caused by manually lifting and moving patients. These injuries are more than sprains and strains; they’re often life-changing and career-ending. Despite the ANA’s decade-long “Handle With Care” campaign, only eleven states have enacted “safe patient-handling” laws, and only nine require healthcare facilities to establish formal safety policies, guidelines, and safety training programs. California adopted safe patient-handling legislation in 2011, but nurses have testified that those safety practices have yet to be implemented in many California hospitals. Healthcare employers are required by the law to provide the safety devices and safeguards reasonably necessary to protect workers, including a safe patient-handling policy and the use of lifting devices and “lift teams.”
There are a lot of ways to get injured on a job, and obviously some professions are more dangerous than others. Nevertheless, every worker in California should be safe and secure from injury as much as is reasonably possible. If you are a nurse or a healthcare worker, and if you have suffered a job-related injury that prevents you from continuing to work, seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately. You may recover your medical expenses and lost wages, but you’re going to need the savvy legal skills that only a good workers’ compensation lawyer can provide. If you have been the victim of any work-related injury in California, in healthcare or in any other profession, speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible.