Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, especially in Florida. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 18 million people work in this industry, and approximately 80 percent are women. Professionals in the healthcare industry include nurses, home health care aids, orderlies, dietitians, cafeteria staff, and janitorial staff.
They may be on the job in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctor offices, diagnostic testing departments, and private homes.
Unfortunately, they can suffer serious injuries while helping others. Under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, they may be entitled to benefits to pay medical bills and supply a portion of their wages while they're off work during recovery.
Causes of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in Healthcare
While the healthcare profession encompasses numerous types of jobs, many workers are at risk of suffering medical conditions due to similar causes. Some of the main reasons for injuries and illnesses are:
- Overexertion and repetitive stress
- Patient handling duties
- Slip and fall accidents
- Needles and sharp objects
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals, dangerous drugs, and infectious agents
- Latex allergies
- Understaffing, shift work, long hours, and other stresses on the job
Common Injuries for Healthcare Employees
Illnesses and injuries vary by individual, but the healthcare industry presents many similar conditions. Some of the most common include:
- Sprains and strains. These injuries happen frequently. Many occur in the shoulders or back, and can result in long-term pain and limitations in movements.
- Disc problems. Nurses and other employees must sometimes lift patients, and an improper technique or other factors may compromise the spinal discs, which are pads between the vertebrae. Slipped or bulging discs, infection, and even degeneration can occur, requiring treatment such as physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
- Infectious diseases. Exposure to airborne germs, mucus, and body waste can cause a healthcare worker to suffer an infectious disease. Individuals are also at risk of developing life-altering bloodborne conditions, such as HIV/AIDs or Hepatitis B or C.
- Broken bones. A slip and fall accident or an assault in the workplace may result in fractures or breaks.
- Head injuries. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other head injuries are also the result of slip and fall accidents and acts of violence. TBI can cause dramatic changes to a person’s vision, mobility, and cognitive abilities, such as reasoning, memory, and concentration.
If you're a nurse or other type of healthcare worker who suffered a workplace injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It's important to follow all employer reporting procedures and seek medical attention right away as to not delay your claim or your recovery.
To learn more about your rights to benefits and how we can assist you, fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.