Connecticut Nurses and Workplace Injuries: Care for the Caregivers
Healthcare workers in Connecticut are trained professionals who administer care—and concern—to patients in a wide variety of settings. They monitor vital signs, dispense medication, follow procedures, respond to emergencies, and cope with challenges. And in doing so, they get injured at an alarming rate. Consider some of the issues they face:
- Exposures—everything from blood borne pathogens and radioactive material to chemicals, waste and drugs
- Stress due to work overload, increase in patient population, limited or insufficient access to technology
- Workplace violence
- Ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks
According to the Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA), a hospital is one of the most dangerous places to work. In fact, OSHA states that the injury and illness rate in hospitals is higher than the rates in construction and manufacturing—two industries commonly thought to be the most dangerous.
The most common injuries and illnesses among healthcare workers (nurses, aides, orderlies, technicians, etc.) are:
- Strains and sprains
- Cuts and punctures
- Multiple trauma
Many of these injures can be classified as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) because they involve the body's joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and structures that support limbs, the back and the neck. In an effort to address these common MSDs among healthcare workers, The Hospital Patient and Healthcare Worker Injury Protection Act was incorporated into the California Labor Code. It requires employers operating healthcare facilities to adopt measures that will reduce injuries for those who have to lift and move patients.
A great step forward, when you consider that the American Nurses Association reports that more than one-third of back injuries among healthcare workers have been associated with handling patients and the frequency with which caregivers are required to move them.
The Act, which also prohibits employers from disciplining workers who refuse to lift or transfer a patient because of personal safety concerns, mandates that an employer:
- Maintain a safe patient handling policy at all times for all patient-care units.
- Provide trained lift teams or other support staff trained in safe lifting techniques in each general acute care hospital.
- Provide training to healthcare workers that includes at least the following: the appropriate use of lifting devices and equipment, the five areas of body exposure (vertical, lateral, bariatric, repositioning and ambulation), and the use of lifting devices to handle patients safely.
In addition, a registered nurse is responsible for observing and directing patient lifts and mobilization.
Beyond the MSDs, healthcare workers face other unique risks including:
- The threat of violence from patients with physical or mental health challenges.
- Exposure to patients and sharp devices contaminated with blood borne pathogens.
The risk management protocol needed to truly keep healthcare workers safe is far from fully developed.
We will continue to fight for the rights of those who are injured while on the front lines of patient care. Because the Workers' Compensation laws are constantly changes, it is wise to contact an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney should you get injured on the job.
From Our Files
- We have over 30 years experience representing injured Hartford, CT nurses, EMT's, Paramedics, CNA's and Companions. We Have experience in claims against:
- American Medical Response (AMR)
- Professional Ambulance
- Hartford Hospital
- Hartford Healthcare
- Connecticut Children's Medical Center
- UConn Health
- John Dempsey Hospital
- Trinity Health
- St. Francis Hospital
- Companions and Homemakers
- Oak Hill School
Keep in mind that because Connecticut Workers' Compensation is a no-fault system, an injured worker is not suing his or her employer, but rather making a claim for benefits . And, because each claim is different, with many variables involved, results cannot be guaranteed. Please call our experience Hartford, CT nurse injury lawyer for a free consultation at 860-523-8783.