When people think of the workers who are most likely to be injured on the job, they rarely think of nurses. The fact is, nurses frequently get hurt on the job. There are more than 35,000 complaints of injuries reported by nurses every year. Some of these injuries are severe enough to have a nurse staying home for a day or even longer.
According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing assistants incur more on-the-job injuries than professionals in any other occupation. Nursing assistants are followed by warehouse workers, over-the-road truckers, stockers and nurses. The number one cause of injury to nursing assistants and nurses? Moving and lifting patients.
The BSL was able to show, years ago, that the way traditional methods of moving patients, with knees bent and back straight, is dangerous. According to William Marras, from The Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute, there is no safe way to move a person. Even using proper “body mechanics” isn’t enough.
Some hospitals have worked to reduce injuries to staff by installing special machinery to lift patients. These hospitals include the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Baptist Health System in Florida. They use something similar to hoists that are used in factories to move the heaviest parts. These hospitals also put their nurses and assistants through intensive training in order to ultimately help reduce injury.
Even though some assistance has been put into place at some hospitals, injuries continue. Consider that some patients may weight 200 to 300 pounds, at it is easy to see how a smaller person could injure their backs, necks or shoulders trying to manipulate them and move them from bed to chair and back again. Also take into account that many of these patients may not be able to assist their movers, making the job even more difficult.
One thing is certain: Something has to change. Hospitals must put more effort into ensuring that their nurses and assistants are able to perform their duties without risk of injury to themselves or their patients.
If you have been injured on the job and need assistance with workers’ compensation in Charleston, a member of our team is here to assist you. Call our office today for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your options.