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OSHA: Hospitals among most dangerous places to work


We continue our discussion of health care worker safety this week with some eye-opening statistics regarding hospital employees from OSHA. This is not intended as specific legal advice, but rather as general information to help provide some context for workers who've been injured or are concerned about the risk of injury in a hospital workplace.

Hospitals today are actually among the most dangerous places where Syracuse residents can work. Almost 59,000 cases of illness and injury related to hospital work in 2011 required employee time off to recover. By that measure, hospitals are more dangerous than manufacturing or construction jobs. The rate of job-related illness and injury in U.S. hospitals in that same year was 6.8 per 100 full-time workers, nearly double the rate of private industry overall.

We noted in our last post some of the dangers health care workers in different settings have to contend with. Hospitals in particular place employees at risk of a work-related accident in that they are constantly working around needles, which can cause puncture wounds as well as contamination with fluids or injecting dangerous substances. And the very culture at a hospital, in which a patient's safety is valued above all, may lead some employees to place themselves at risk of injury to protect a patient.

Workplace accidents at hospitals are bound to take place, particularly given the dynamic environments in which split-second reflexes are often required to respond to constantly changing circumstances. This is one reason why workers' compensation exists to support them -- however, many find it beneficial to consult with a legal professional to help receive the full benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Worker Safety in Your Hospital: Know the Facts," accessed on Feb. 20, 2015

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