Health care workers face many job-related injuries in Homestead and across Florida, but nurses are among the workers that seem to suffer the most. Nurses report about 35,000 back injuries and other serious injuries each year, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This group of workers suffers more back and related injuries than construction workers and every other type of worker.
The biggest workplace injury risk for Homestead and Florida patients is the lifting and moving of patients. According to NPR, part of the problem may be that nursing students are taught to lift patients while keeping their backs straight and bending the knees – a posture that can lead to injury.
Researchers at the Ohio State University Spine Research Institute have concluded that there is no way to lift patients safely by hand. When nurses in Homestead and other communities try to lift patients, in other words, they are likely to suffer on-the-job-injuries, especially back injuries. Instead, researchers recommend using machinery to lift and move patients. While some hospitals have invested in this type of machinery, however, many have not, leaving nurses to face the risks.
What Leads to Workplace Injuries for Nurses?
There are additional problems that can lead to on-the-job injuries for nursing staff:
- Lack of training for staff
- Expectations that require nurses to lift and move patients
- Growing rates of obesity, which make patients heavier and harder to move
- Lack of technology, machines, and other support that would help in lifting and moving patients
- Lack of laws that would prevent nurses from having to lift excessively heavy weights or patients
- Nurses are often on the front lines of health care, interacting with patients and visitors who can get aggressive or even violent
- Patients in hospitals are released sooner than they would have been twenty years ago, meaning that patients need more help getting out of bed before they can fully lift themselves
Some nurses report having to move or lift patients 15 times or more each day, which can result in injury over time. Nurses and other experts have called for changes to protect hospital and clinic workers. However, experts agree that unless laws are passed requiring staff to make changes, it is likely that high rates of injury among nurses will continue.
On-the-Job Incidents Can Result in Serious, Permanent Injuries
Some of the injuries that nurses sustain can be career-threatening or even fatal. A serious back injury can prevent a nurse from returning to the job and can create a lifetime of chronic pain. In these cases, nurses report that they are given benefits but the compensation does not always cover the costs of lost wages, medical care, and other expenses.
Have You Been Injured at Work?
Health care workers injured on the job should have the full protection of the law. If you work in a health care setting or in any job and are injured, contact Flaxman Law Group before you sign any documents or agree to any benefits. Our South Florida law firm can review your situation and offer to help you understand the rights you have under Florida law. Call today for your free consultation.