Pennsylvania Hospital Workers and the Hazards they Face on the Job

Hospital workers in Pennsylvania face numerous hazards in the workplace, which may result in them suffering serious occupational injuries or illnesses.

In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, there are numerous employees who treat patients and keep hospitals operating efficiently including nurses, doctors, technicians, administrative staff, cooks and janitors. Since they work in health care facilities, many assume that the risk of occupational injuries is minimal among these workers. However, that is not the case, as hospital workers commonly sustain an array of occupational injuries and illnesses as a result of work-related accidents or incidents. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that health care workers suffer more injuries on the job than those who work in any other industry sector.

Common workplace hazards

Hospital workers are exposed to numerous injury risks in the workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, some of the most common include:

• Injury resulting from a fall, slip or trip

• Exposure to dangerous or contagious substances

• Violence due to an upset family member or combative patient

• Bumping into or getting struck by work-related objects or equipment

• Injury resulting from overexertion or bodily reactions

Much of the injury risk for hospital workers is due to the unique challenges they face in the workplace. For instance, employees in such facilities are often in contact with patients who may be contagious or devices that might have been contaminated with bloodborne pathogens. Hospital workers also frequently lift, transfer and reposition patients who have limited mobility, which may also contribute to some types of work-related injuries.

Common occupational injuries

Employees in hospitals may sustain a range of injuries on the job. OSHA points out that bruises, sprains and strains are common among people who work in such facilities. Over half of the injuries requiring days away from work are categorized as strains and sprains. Hospital workers may also sustain brain injuries, fractures, punctures and cuts due to workplace accidents and incidents. Further, they may contract occupational illnesses such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, as a result of coming into contact with the bodily fluids of sick patients or getting stuck with a needle.

Obtaining legal counsel

When hospital workers in Pennsylvania are injured on the job, they may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. They often rely on these benefits, including medical care coverage and wage replacement, to help them provide for themselves and their families as they recover. However, the process of obtaining workers' compensation is not always cut and dry. Therefore, hospital workers who have sustained occupational injuries or illnesses may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may help them understand their rights, as well as guide them through the claims process.