Does the Healthcare Industry Have the Highest Rate of Work-Related Accidents and Injuries?
December 13, 2022
The healthcare sector is one of the largest industries in the U.S. economy. The industry has been growing rapidly in the past few years as the Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age and as Americans continue to live longer and require more intensive medical care. However, as the healthcare industry continues to boom, workers in the industry face significant risks of suffering injuries and illnesses on the job. In fact, official government labor statistics show that the healthcare industry has the highest rate of on-the-job injuries and illnesses of any work sector.
Important Risks for Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers face unique risks of injury and illness on the job that employees in other industries don’t have. The most dangerous work hazards that employees in the healthcare industry may face include:
- Puncture wounds from needles and scalpels
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials
- Accidental exposure to potentially hazardous medications or drugs, such as fentanyl
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Overexertion injuries from lifting patients and other heavy objects
- Slip or trip and fall accidents
- Latex allergies
- Infections from communicable diseases, including bloodborne and airborne viruses such as COVID-19, and sexually transmitted infections like hepatitis or HIV
- Violent injuries inflicted by patients or their family members, especially for healthcare workers in psychiatric and mental health specialties
Healthcare Industry Work Injury Statistics
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in one recent year hospitals across the country recorded a total of 221,400 work-related injuries and illnesses, equating to a rate of 5.5 work injuries and occupational diseases for every 100 full-time employees. The healthcare industry’s rate of work-related injuries and illnesses is nearly twice the rate of the private industry as a whole.
What Are a Healthcare Worker’s Rights After Suffering a Work Injury or Occupational Illness
Many healthcare facilities are focused on improving workplace safety. This includes reducing the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses by providing full protective personal equipment to healthcare workers treating patients with communicable diseases, purchasing equipment and machinery to help relieve workers of certain physically demanding tasks, conducting regular cleanings and maintenance of facilities, and increasing security measures to protect workers from potentially violent individuals.
However, healthcare workers will continue to face the possibility of work injuries and occupational illnesses. In Washington State, a healthcare worker who suffers injury or illness on the job may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits from the state Department of Labor & Industry. Under Washington’s workers’ compensation system, benefits that healthcare employees can access may include:
- Medical benefits that cover the cost of all reasonable and necessary treatment, rehabilitation, and pain management for a work injury or occupational disease
- Expense reimbursement for certain qualified travel expenses incurred in going to medical appointments and procedures
- Wage replacement benefits that provide partial reimbursement of lost wages or income due to missed time from work or reduced earrings on part-time/light-duty work
- Permanent partial disability benefits that offer financial payments based on the type and severity of permanent impairment or disfigurement
- Permanent disability pension benefits are available to workers who are permanently disabled from returning to the workforce
Contact a Rochester Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Workplace Injury Case in Washington State
Were you or a loved one injured due to a workplace accident in Washington State? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need n aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Smith Duran Law represent clients injured in Olympia, Lakewood, Auburn, and University Place. Call (360) 273-5941 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 10118 Highway 12 SW, Rochester, WA, 98579, as well as offices in Tacoma.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
The Department of Labor and Industries manages claims for injuries at work. You are entitled to money for lost wages, medical treatment, vocational retraining, loss of body function, and in some cases a pensionLEARN MORE
If your injury was caused by someone other than a co‑worker, an auto accident, or defective equipment, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Our attorney will evaluate your case.LEARN MORE