The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted a total of almost 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2015, and in the same year, 4,836 fatal work injuries. That’s a lot of injuries!
Jobs like construction and factory work tend to be the places people think of first when they think about workplace injury. Risk of falls, environmental hazards, moving vehicles, repetitive movement injury—all of these are hazards to safety inherent in some types of jobs. But there’s another occupation that may not come to mind immediately when thinking about safety—and that is the profession of nursing.
Long hours, physical labor, including lifting patients, lack of sleep and sometimes nutritious meals—nursing can include all of these factors and more. All of it adds up to an increased risk of injury for both in-facility and outpatient nurses.
Nursing On-the-Job Injuries are Far Too Common
According to the BLS, every year there are more than 3,500 injuries among nursing employees. That’s almost 100 injuries each and every day—and these are injuries that are severe enough that these nurses must miss work. And it’s not only nurses who have an increased risk of injury– nursing assistants (as well as orderlies) sustain about three times the rate of back and other musculoskeletal injuries as construction workers!
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) created a “Caring for Our Caregivers” publication to help hospital workers and administrators understand the importance of a safe patient handling program.
Safe patient handling includes:
- A “road map” for reviewing and improving hospital safe patient handling policies, programs, and equipment
- Utilizing equipment such as ceiling-mounted lifts for patient lifting and slide sheets for lateral patient transfer
- Patient lifting training for all nurses & caregivers
- Policies that advocate minimal lifting and patient assessment tools
- Providing equipment such as ceiling mounted lifts and slide sheets for lateral transfer
- A list of common myths, barriers, and concerns about safe patient handling—with facts to disprove these myths
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has gotten into the act, too. The ANA started a new Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation initiative to help prevent injuries on the job. The initiative targets five key areas for improvement:
- Quality of life
Adequate breaks and rest, nutritious food options, and avoiding excessive body stress can prove key in reducing injuries for nurses—and is good advice for everyone else who works as well.
If you work for a company in Florida, you are most likely covered by worker’s compensation insurance in the event of an injury. It is mandatory for Florida employers with four or more employees (or in the construction industry, only one employee) to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees.
That makes for some good news: most accidents or injuries that occur in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation laws. Even better, worker’s comp is a no-fault system, so an employee is not required to prove fault in order to gain benefits for their injury.
The serious downside is that if you are injured while on the job in Florida, Florida laws can make it tough to receive those benefits:
- You do not get to see your personal physician
- With worker’s comp, the insurance company picks the doctor.
- There are strict time limits for how long you can receive payments
- As soon as the worker’s comp doctor releases you as ‘fit for work,’ your benefits end. If still suffering from your injury, you may have to choose between returning to work, or continuing to suffer with no income.
- Don’t like the doctor? You can switch– once
- If you disagree with the worker’s comp doctor assigned to you, you only have the right to change physicians one time
- The doctor may claim your injury is from a pre-existing condition
- Your claim for benefits can be denied if the doctor assigned to you states the injury was due to a condition that existed before the accident.
- Your job is not protected while you recover
- Employers do not have to hold your job– which can create pressure to return before you are ready.
- You may be completely disabled for the job you had—but that may not mean you are unable to work anymore
- You could be denied benefits if a doctor determines that, while you cannot perform your old job, you are capable of doing another job—even if it pays less (or substantially less)
You may not know that if your claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been denied, you have the right to appeal. And with the Florida Workers’ Compensation laws so much in favor of employers and insurance companies, you may want to consider an to look out for your interests.
Have you or a loved one been injured while on the job?
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job while working in Florida, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you. Thomas and Pearl can use medical records to prove your injuries, and to prove how those injuries caused on the job. Your Thomas & Pearl attorney can get separate medical opinions stating your true ability to return to work and perform your job.
The insurance companies have legal counsel to best represent their interests. You should too. Your Thomas and Pearl attorney will be there to help you.
$150 MILLION in verdicts and settlements
Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to conduct a thorough accident and injury investigation. Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of workers’ compensation injuries in Florida.
Ask about the more than $150M (MILLION) dollars in recent and past jury verdicts and settlements we have gained for our clients.
We’ll evaluate your case situation with you, develop a strategy to win or successfully negotiate the highest amount of compensation for you.
Experienced legal help can make the difference between a successful resolution and losing. And you pay nothing unless we get that successful resolution for you.
Contact Thomas & Pearl at any time.