Pennsylvania workers may know that individuals who work in health care are exposed to musculoskeletal injuries and a wide range of hazardous substances. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and some states have stepped up efforts to prevent injuries to health care workers.
OSHA reports that musculoskeletal injuries are the number one problem faced by health care workers. In 2014, health care workers suffered such injuries two times more often than construction workers. The most common is low back and rotator cuff tears, tendonitis and muscle strains. A primary cause of the injuries is, according to OSHA, lifting patients manually. Misconceptions about manual versus mechanical lifting abound. Some feel manual lifting is cheaper, easier on the patient and faster. By preventing health care worker injuries, mechanical lifting saves money from paying for time off and medical expenses. OSHA reports that patients are comfortable with mechanical lifts once they have used them, and if the lifts are available, the process of lifting a patient is faster.
Health care workers face other job hazards also. Biohazardous waste and pathogens in blood products are potential hazards for workers. Other potential dangers include radioactive materials, lasers, chemicals and x-rays. Some states, including California and New York, have enacted legislation engineered to prevent health care worker injuries.
A health care worker who is injured on the job in Pennsylvania may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The benefits include lost wages and medical expenses. Generally, a worker has 120 days in which to report an injury to their employer. The worker is then obligated to see a doctor on an approved list for workers' compensation. A consultation with an attorney may be beneficial in properly filing the claim and in assuring the benefits are adequately paid. If you're a healthcare professional who has been hurt on the job, call Dugan & Associates today for a free consultation at 888-99-DUGAN.