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Health care workers suffer the most workplace injuries

Health care workers face many hazards on the job and as a result, suffer more workplace injuries compared to other workers in the U.S., according to a new report by Public Citizen. They reported that health care workers are injured on the job more than workers in any other industry.

Despite health care workers having a higher rate of workplace injuries, the report found that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has not been able to make the health care industry any safer. The report said that OSHA does not inspect health care facilities as often as they should and that they need to pass better safety standards to keep health care workers safe.

All health care workers are at risk for being injured on the job. However, the report found that nurses, orderlies, nursing aides and attendants were more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries. The most common types of injuries reported among health care workers include back and neck injuries, repetitive motion injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries caused by moving and treating patients on a daily basis.

OSHA has acknowledged that there are many safety hazards that still need to be addressed in the health care industry. They said that they are working on creating a program to help address common causes of accidents and injuries, including occupational illnesses, trips and falls and ergonomic factors that cause injuries to workers.

It is unknown when OSHA will be creating and enforcing new safety standards for health care workers. However, employers can still be held liable for workplace injuries and illnesses. Workers who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits under state law. Workers who have been injured after a workplace accident should contact a workers' compensation attorney to discuss applying for workers' compensation benefits.

Source: EHS Today, "Health Care Workers Suffer Most Injuries, Have Few Federal Protections," Sandy Smith, July 18, 2013

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