Health care is one of the fast-growing industries in the United States. More than 18 million people work in health care with that number expected to grow as the baby boom generation (those now between 56-74) continue to age.
While many people choose a health care career because they enjoy helping patients and can earn strong wages, they do face risks on the job. In fact, in 2017, 2.8 million health care workers received injuries or illnesses related to their job.
Some of the most common injuries health care workers face include the following:
- Musculoskeletal disorders from overexertion and repetitive stress. Health care workers often have to help lift and reposition patients. Over time, this added strain on their backs, arms, shoulders and knees can cause strain, pain and damage.
- Injuries from slips and falls because of workers often encountering wet floors in hospitals, clinics and care facilities.
- Needle sticks. Many health care workers use needles every day, several times a day, in treating patients. That puts them at risk for sticking themselves with needles, which can carry diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis B or C.
- Violence. Health care workers often treat patients with mental illness, patients in stressful situations, drug-addicted patients or criminal patients. These patients often behave erratically and sometimes get violent. Caregivers often suffer injuries as a result.
Health care workers also often work long shifts, at odd times of the day and night. Fatigue can play a role when they suffer workplace injury.
Any health care worker who is injured on the job can receive workers’ compensation in Minnesota. They need to report their injury to their employer as soon as it occurs, or as soon as they notice symptoms. They then need to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits to cover medical costs and any missed time from work.