3 Common Types of Hospital Injuries, Accidents, and Infections
Hospital employees are injured more frequently than you might guess, not only in North Carolina but throughout the United States. These injuries can occur in public hospitals, private hospitals, or university hospitals – even in facilities that are world-renowned for their quality of care.
This is due to the fact that hospital workers and nurses, such as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), nursing aides, medication aides, and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), are continuously exposed to occupational hazards throughout all hours of their workday. These hazards run the spectrum from injuries caused by violent assault to accidental injuries to contagious diseases and infections. Whether a nurse is lifting an immobilized patient, disposing of dangerous medical waste, performing procedures, or simply interacting with a patient’s family members, the risk of harm is virtually constant.
Below are three of the most common occupational injuries and illnesses among hospitals and healthcare workers. If you recently suffered any of these injuries or suffered a different type of injury while you were working in a healthcare setting, ask our Charlotte hospital workers’ compensation attorneys about whether you could qualify for benefits.
Injury #1: Hospital Back Injuries
Depending on what type of nursing work an individual performs, many nursing jobs require frequent heavy lifting as a core job duty. For example, the nurse might be responsible for loading, unloading, and/or transporting patients between different hospital units or beds, as well as lifting patients who have fallen. The nurse might also have to lift specific areas of the patient’s body to perform cleaning or wound care or to help rehabilitate the patient. As a result, back injuries are common in the nursing industry. As reported by NPR in 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) reports approximately 35,000 nursing back injuries per year.
Of course, back injuries can also be caused by the next entry on our list, which are…
Injury #2: Hospital Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere but are particularly common in hospitals for several reasons. To begin with, bodily fluids are a major slipping hazard – as are the cleaners and disinfectants used to remove them. Additionally, nurses bring water and beverages to and from patients throughout the day, which creates numerous opportunities for spills (and resulting slips). Hospitals also contain cafeterias, where cafeteria workers, janitorial workers, or nurses can slip on food, beverages, or cooking oil.
According to the same OSHA report noted above, accidents categorized as “slips, trips, and falls” were responsible for approximately 25% of hospital injuries resulting in missed work. Accidental falls can result in various injuries depending on how far the victim falls, the force of impact against the ground, and which part of the body the victim lands on. Examples tend to include bone fractures, bruising/contusions, soft tissue injuries (such as sprains and strains), head and brain injuries (such as concussions), and spinal cord injuries. If you fell while working at a hospital, our Charlotte workplace slip and fall lawyers can help you explore your options for filing a claim.
Injury #3: Hospital Strains and Sprains
Hospital workers often encounter unusual circumstances in moving patients and equipment, which frequently cause injuries to knees, shoulders, hips, and elbows. If a hospital worker has to lift an unusually heavy patient, or a bed gets stuck or rolls back, they can strain or overexert a body part. According to a 2013 report on hospital worker safety by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), overexertion injuries accounted for a staggering 48% of all hospital injuries that resulted in days away from work.