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Health care employees beware: Your workplace is uniquely dangerous

Did you know that if you work at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or another health care facility, your workplace is one of the most hazardous in the country? The number of work-related injuries and illnesses among hospital employees and health care workers trump those in the vast majority of other industries nationwide, the CDC reports.

Traditionally, construction workers and agricultural workers were at the highest risk of injury. Today, these two industries are safer than they have ever been before, but health care employees still face great danger on a daily basis. Common hazards range from back injuries caused by patient transfers to diseases transmitted through needlesticks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agrees on the hazards of hospital work. OSHA notes that in 2011, nearly seven out of every 100 employees suffered an occupational injury or illness. That number is almost double the injury rate for employees in private industries nationwide.

What makes health care work so perilous?

One reason health care work is hazardous is that hospital employees routinely deal with situations that are uncommon in other industries. For instance, they often bend, twist and lift to reposition patients. They also work with sharp objects, such as needles, on a frequent basis.

Another consideration is that many health care workers genuinely care about helping those they serve. For this reason, they will sometimes put themselves in danger to protect or benefit others.

Workers' compensation can make a significant difference

OSHA's research suggests that the average cost of a workers' compensation claim for a hospital worker falls somewhere between $15,860 and $22,300. If you're like most employees, you don't have that kind of money just lying around. Remember that under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to seek fair compensation for work-related injuries and diseases, so take advantage of that right.

To learn more about how to pursue a workers' compensation claim for a serious on-the-job accident or illness, contact an attorney skilled in this area of law.

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