Nurses and other medical workers in Pennsylvania such as orderlies and aides are more prone to musculoskeletal injuries than any other occupation, and the risk of workplace injury caused in many cases by having to lift patients is increasing. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes safety standards for other occupations, the agency has not yet published standards for nurses.
According to ABC News, the problem is worsening in the Midwest and other areas where patients are becoming heavier. The American Nurses Association has been lobbying Congress for national safety standards for many years. Although the federal government has not taken any action, as many as 3,000 hospitals have adopted the standards suggested by the association. California has passed legislation adopting its own standards as well.
Since the California law has been in place, nurses and other workers are supposed to use safe lifting procedures to move patients. For example, health care workers should have help or lift equipment to assist them. However, nurses in California have stated that many hospitals there have not yet implemented these regulations. Frequent awkward and heavy lifting has led to serious muscular and bone injuries and damage throughout the profession.
An employee who has suffered an on-the-job injury due to a workplace accident or unsafe working conditions may wish to speak with an attorney that has experience in workers’ compensation matters. The attorney may be able to help determine whether the employee is eligible to file a claim under workers’ compensation. The attorney may also be able to advise as to whether the employee is entitled to receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses resulting from the injury.
Source: ABC News, “Nurses Prone to Injuries With Heavier Patients“, Sydney Lupkin, September 26, 2013