Workers' compensation issues in health care professions

Various industries present unique hazards for workers, and North Carolina health care employees face some particularly challenging work conditions that have the potential to negatively affect their well-being. Exposure to ill patients, for example, creates a significant risk of contracting the illnesses in question. The tools of health care activities can also injure a worker. Sharps protocols and hand washing requirements have been refined over the years to ensure that such risks are minimized.

A recent report that dealt with workers' compensation data for the health care field noted that annual claims are decreasing slightly. A reduction of 1 percent in claims is a positive observation, but the severity of claims is increasing at a rate of 2 percent each year. Projections suggest that loss rates will increase by about 1 percent per year. There is a sense of stability based on these statistics, but there are some areas that require better oversight and strategy to further improve workplace safety in the health care field.

Workplace violence is one of the pressing issues of the day, but many workers in health-related careers indicate that they are well-prepared for incident response. Surprisingly, more than 90 percent of individuals providing information for the report in question noted that they had dealt with this issue in their own experiences in the preceding three years. Safe patient handling and the aging of workers in the field of health care are additional concerns that could have an impact on workers' compensation trends in the coming years.

Workers' compensation allows an injured party to seek medical treatment and to deal with lost wages if a significant amount of recovery time is needed. Health care workers could deal with slips and falls, cuts, exposure to dangerous bacteria, or muscle pulls related to moving patients. Legal assistance could be warranted to deal with employer interference with a claim.

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