Workplace hazards put Minnesota hospital workers at risk for injuries

Hospitals in Ramsey County, and throughout Minnesota, are staffed with numerous workers. This includes physicians, nurses and technicians, as well as administrative employees, janitorial staff and cafeteria workers. Since they are working in health care facilities, many assume that jobs in hospitals are among the safest professions. This is not the case, however, hospital workers face a number of injury risks in the workplace. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that hospital workers suffered more than 253,000 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2011 alone.

Common workplace hazards

Much of the danger hospital workers face is due to the unique challenges that they face in the workplace. Workers in this setting are frequently asked to work in close proximity with patients and their families, as well as with potentially hazardous substances. According to OSHA, some of the most common causes of work-related injuries for these employees include the following:

  • Falls, slips and trips
  • Exposure to dangerous substances
  • Contact with objects or equipment
  • Violence

Additionally, hospital workers frequently suffer overexertion and bodily reaction injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the rate of these types of injuries for hospital workers is twice the average across all industries. For those who work directly with patients, overexertion injuries commonly result from lifting, pushing or repositioning patients. This may be because the patients are unable to move or control their bodies or are overweight, or because many hospital workers feel an obligation to put their patients' safety above their own.

Common occupational injuries

People who work in hospitals commonly suffer a range of injuries on the job. According to OSHA, the most common injuries among these workers include cuts, punctures, fractures and bruises. Hospital workers also frequently suffer sprains and strains.

In addition to injuries, people working in hospitals may also contract occupational injuries or diseases. This may result from exposure to contagions or infected patients, as well as from exposure to radiation. Due to such exposures, hospital workers may contract infections, respiratory conditions, or other serious diseases or ailments.

Seeking legal counsel

When hospital workers in Minnesota, and elsewhere, are injured on the job, they often require time off work to recover, as well as medical treatment. While they may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits, the process is not straightforward for all injured workers. Therefore, those who have suffered injuries while working in hospitals may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand their rights, as well as assist them in obtaining the benefits they are entitled to.