Heavy machinery, falling debris and unstable safety gear are all serious and potentially devastating risks that many workers face, but they are far from the only potential hazards. Health care workers in Illinois and elsewhere face a unique and dangerous hazard with which workers in other industries might not have to contend. When a health worker suffers a workplace injury, there is very real possibility that workplace violence might have been involved.
Just how common is violence in health care environments? A survey from 2014 discovered that for every four nurses, three experienced some instance of workplace violence during the previous calendar year. Physical violence from patients affected three of every 10 nurses, and most of those instances were linked to drug or alcohol use by the patient.
In April 2015, the Occupational Health Safety Network identified two groups of workers who are most likely to suffer an injury because of violence in the workplace. Both — nurses and nursing assistants — were in the health care field. It has been suggested that nurses and other health care workers receive better and more comprehensive training for incidents of workplace violence, and that the training should be specialized for the unique needs and circumstances that health care workers tend to face.
Without the necessary training or safety guidelines in place to protect health care workers, violence from patients and other sources can create dangerous environments. Before Illinois nurses or physicians can fully care for their patients, their own safety must be fully assured. Without this important protection in place, the possibility of a devastating workplace injury can be a terrifying reality. When these instances of workplace violence put employees out of work and into recovery, workers’ compensation benefits can be the lifeline that helps carry them through.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Workplace Violence a Growing Problem for Health Care Workers“, Pamela F. Cipriano, Sept. 4, 2015