When people think of workers’ compensation injuries, many imagine construction or manufacturing jobs. They may not realize that on-the-job injuries are just as common in a health care setting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in just one year, registered nurses in the U.S. experienced over 20,000 cases of injury and illness while carrying out the duties of their profession.
Understanding the most common injuries affecting RNs and hospital staff can help these workers identify and avoid risks to their health.
1. Sprains and strains from overexertion
Nurses must often lift, move, support or reposition patients. For example, a nurse may need to lift a patient from a wheelchair into a hospital bed or help a patient walk to the bathroom. The considerable weight involved can lead to back injuries or other strains for RNs.
2. Slip-and-fall accidents
RNs also spend a lot of time on their feet, sometimes standing or walking for hours. They visit countless patient rooms and check in with physicians across the facility. Given the frequency of cleaning in a hospital environment, slip-and-fall accidents from wet floors are common.
3. Injuries caused by animals or people
A surprisingly common type of injury for health care workers are violent attacks caused by people or animals. Patients may intentionally or unintentionally hurt nurses. Support animals accompanying patients may bite when afraid.
Many types of nursing employees, including those in private clinics and in-home nursing care, qualify for workers’ comp protections. RNs and other health care professionals can use these protections to get the medical care and compensation they need to recover.