Health care workplace injuries could be preventable | Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa

Health care workplace injuries could be preventable

Working in health care is an incredibly rewarding career path, but it can also be dangerous. Health care workers are at risk for serious workplace injuries that can put them out of work for days, weeks or even longer. While some people may believe that this is just the tradeoff for working in this industry, others believe that employers could do more to protect their workers.

Ventilator associated pneumonia and central line infections used to be common among hospital patients, and many experts simply believed that it was impossible to prevent these type of things. Once the root cause of these problems were identified hospitals worked hard to prevent these outcomes. Unfortunately, not all hospitals and other health care employers have applied this same kind of vigor to identifying and eliminating potential threats for their workers.

Common health care injuries

Many health care workers clock in to high stress environments that are filled with risks. While each workplace is unique, there are certainly common risks that can be found in some medical environments, such as wet floors and violence. These contribute to some of the more frequently recorded injuries, like back injuries, needlesticks and more.

One of the reasons that health care workers report these injuries so frequently is that employers do not believe they are preventable. While it might be impossible to avoid all accidents, this is largely a myth. There are many steps that Florida employers could take to improve worker safety. Instead, some employers tend to shift the blame to injury victims.

The problem with blaming the victim

Employers frequently assume that victims are to blame for their own injuries. This is a convenient way to shift focus off of workplace inadequacies. You may have heard some of the following reasons for blaming victims, including that he or she:

  • Did not follow protocol
  • Used the wrong equipment
  • Was rushing
  • Was not properly trained

These accusations usually fall short and also overlook potential problems. For example, was the protocol too confusing or impractical? Or, was there a problem with the proper equipment? Policies regarding the time involved to get a bed turned over or to treat patients can also contribute to feeling rushed, and being improperly trained is rarely an employee’s fault.

Employers need to step up

It is up to hospitals, outpatient clinics and other medical facilities to promote safety in the workplace. This involves more than just implementing practical and reasonable protocols, it also means that Florida employers need to create something called psychological safety. If workers do not feel safe pointing out workplace hazards then things are unlikely to get better.

Recovering from a serious injury can be an exhausting process, both physically and emotionally. You may need help with your finances during this period of time too, especially if you are not sure how long you will be out of work. Securing workers’ compensation benefits can be quite a journey in certain cases though, so it may be in your best interests to work closely with an experienced attorney who can carefully guide you through the process.

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