Virtually all workers in Illinois face at least some risk of injury while on the job, but certain professions have a much higher rate of work-related accidents than others. Construction workers and employees in the industrial industry certainly spring to mind at the mention of a workplace injury, but they are not the only ones who face exceptional risk when going to work. Nurses and other health care professionals also experience a high rate of being injured on the job.
As a group, nurses suffer the most work-related injuries in the country. This statistic can be quite disconcerting for some, especially since nurses work in the field of health and healing. However, there appears to be a very obvious reason behind the high number of injuries — mainly, employer negligence when it comes to providing a safe working environment.
Approximately half of all injuries suffered by nurses are thought to be musculoskeletal disorders, which are preventable. MSDs, as they are called, typically develop in either the lower back or the limbs and affect the nerves, muscles and tendons. This overexertion is often brought on by manually moving or lifting patients without the right type of help or safety precautions. For a great many nurses who must take time away from work for an MSD injury, the effects can end up being permanent, taking them out of the health care career field altogether.
A bill that aims to protect nurses while on the job was recently introduced. Named the Nurse and Health Care Work Protection Act, it proposes that that the U.S. Department of Labor be required to craft a safety standard for nurses that would be implemented across the country, including Illinois. With current safety standards apparently lacking and the risk of being injured on the job especially high for nurses, many workers will likely still need to rely on workers’ compensation while the bill’s fate is debated.
Source: thehill.com, “New healthcare facility safety bill a big win for nursing employees“, Lisa Gilbert, Dec. 17, 2015