Though it may not be one of the first professions that come to mind when people think about ‘dangerous jobs’, the evidence is overwhelming: nursing is one of the most hazardous occupations in America. According to data provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), hospital workers are injured at a rate far above the national average. Sadly, too many nurses face unsafe conditions on the job.
At The Walthew Law Firm, our local attorneys have the skills and experience to help injured nurses get access to the full and fair benefits that they rightfully deserve. If you or your loved one was injured while working as a nurse or as a hospital staff member in Washington, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team for free legal guidance.
Physical and Verbal Assaults on Nurses Have Become a Major Problem
Unfortunately, physical attacks and assaults on nurses have become increasingly common. Recently, the Seattle Times reported that the number of patient attacks on staff has surged at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. In January 2018, a 260-pound unruly teenager struck a fellow patient and then punched a hospital staff member in the mouth, causing a significant injury. In August, that same patient stomped on a nurse’s face, resulting in so much physical damage that her supervisor was worried she may be killed in the attack.
Incidents like this are not limited to Western State Hospital and they are not as isolated as many people would like to believe. Physical violence and verbal attacks are happening at an alarming rate in hospitals. According to data provided by Advisory Board, 75 percent of all workplace assaults happen within the healthcare industry —despite this sector making up less than ten percent of the American labor force. Incidents of healthcare workplace violence have more than doubled since 2005.
The Obesity Epidemic Directly Impacts Hospital Workers
Over the last three decades, the obesity rate has surged in our country. In 1990, approximately 11 percent of American adults were classified as ‘obese’. As of 2017, the rate of adult obesity hit 30 percent. There is strong evidence that the rise in obesity has resulted in an increase in the number of injuries amongst nurses. In a study published in Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care. researchers found that nurses and other healthcare professionals are at a heightened risk of back injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries directly related to the emergency lifting of heavy patients. The researchers conclude that additional changes must be made to encourage safe lifting and ensure that nurses are protected.
Other Common Workplace Injuries for Nurses
Beyond dealing with dangerous patients members and heavy lifting, there are also many other potential dangers in a healthcare setting. Many nurses are required to work long shifts and are often sleep deprived. On top of all the other safety issues, hospital workers are exposed to many of the same hazards that exist in a normal office environment as well. Some notable examples of other injuries that are common amongst nurses include:
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI): A repetitive strain injury is an injury that develops gradually over time due to the cumulative effects of repeated trauma. Some common examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, back injuries, neck injuries, and joint injuries.
- Sharps Injuries: Sharps injuries are penetrating stab wounds, usually from a needle or a scalpel. Not only are they notoriously painful, but they dramatically increase the risk that a nurse may develop a dangerous infection.
- Exposure to Dangerous Substances: Healthcare workers are sometimes exposed to dangerous substances or toxins while on the job. Proper safety protocols must be designed and implemented at hospitals to ensure staff members are protected.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are a major issue in hospitals. Frequently, nurses are forced to work quickly, moving from room to room. Safety hazards in hallways, walkways, waiting rooms, or patient rooms can lead to very serious injuries.
Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Washington Today
At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington work injury attorneys have deep experience representing nurses. If you or a family member was injured while working as a nurse or in any related healthcare position, we can help you obtain workers’ compensation protection.
To arrange a free, no obligation review of your workers’ compensation claim, please call our law firm today at (206) 483-0712. From our law offices in Seattle and Everett, we serve communities throughout the region, including Bellevue, Tacoma, Kent, Puyallup, SeaTac, Renton, Issaquah, and Kirkland