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Report Finds Health Care Worker Injuries Decline But Severity of Harm Increases in Massachusetts and Elsewhere

According to a survey that was recently conducted by a risk solutions company, fewer workers’ compensation claims are reportedly being filed by health care employees across 11 states. In its Health Care Workers’ Compensation Barometer report, the company analyzed the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims filed by individuals who were employed by more than 1,100 medical facilities across the nation over the past 10 years. According to the risk solutions business, the frequency of injury claims declined steadily throughout the past decade. As a result, the company expects workers’ compensation claims filed by employees in the medical field to continue to decline by about one percent per year.

Although fewer health care workplace injury claims are now being filed, the report shows an increase in workers’ compensation claim severity. The report also cites patient management as the leading cause of all worker harm claims in the health care field. Patient management apparently accounts for at least one-third of all medical worker injuries and loss. In addition to harm resulting from lifting and moving patients, health care employers are apparently concerned about the risks associated with handling materials related to emerging diseases, such as the Ebola virus. The risk report states worker claim severity is expected to continue to increase at a rate of two percent per year.

The Health Care Workers’ Compensation Barometer report found that approximately 90 percent of the medical facilities that responded to the survey have a return-to work program in place. Still, only about 65 percent of those companies measure the effectiveness of the program. Although 95 percent of respondents have a formal safety committee, only 17 percent of the health care facilities analyzed have opted to utilize a worker safety incentive program. The risk management company also found that home health aides account for the highest rate of medical worker indemnity costs for employers.

Each day, health care providers in Massachusetts and across the country face a significant workplace injury risk. In fact, nursing has the second-highest incidence of non-fatal work injuries reported among all high-risk jobs in the United States. According to the federal Bureau of Labor, about 9,000 American doctors, orderlies, certified nursing assistants, and other health care workers sustain a disabling job injury every day.

The most common type of non-fatal health care worker injury is musculoskeletal harm, such as a back strain. Repetitive strain from moving patients, leaning over a bed in order to care for the sick or injured, and standing for long periods of time may cause a worker to suffer a musculoskeletal injury. About one-quarter of health care employees who sustain such an injury cannot return to work. Under Massachusetts law, a health care worker who experiences a back or other musculoskeletal injury may be entitled to recover no-fault compensation for his or her lost wages, medical care, and other damages. Contact a skilled Boston workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your rights in greater detail.

If you suffered workplace harm at a Massachusetts health care facility, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The caring attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are available to help you recover the damages your injuries merit. To speak with a knowledgeable Boston workers’ compensation lawyer today, contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. through our website or give us a call at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

Aon Sees Healthcare Workers’ Compensation Claims Dropping, Insurance Journal

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