A New Jersey’s nurse’s back was permanently injured because the hospital in which she worked failed to provide mechanical lifting devices for use by the hospital staff. In part, the reason why such a lifting device was not available was due to a lack of state based regulations mandating such devices be available.
Because of her injuries, this nurse has suffered wage loss, medical expense and prolonged medical treatment. “I live in constant pain, some days much worse than others,” she was quoted as saying. Before such devices were required in hospitals and nursing homes, more than half of the nurses reported suffering some sort of injury due to lifting accidents. Sometimes these injured workers only outlet would be to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Lifting injuries are just one of many safety issues that hospital staff must endure. More than half of the employees have been victims of violence or physical harassment on the job. Because the safety record of hospitals in New Jersey was so poor, the then governor and legislature put into place statewide standards which including the availability of lifting devices and violence prevention measures.
Though evidence shows that employers would save a great millions of dollars in workers’ compensation and other costs that result from worker injuries, many corporations continue to resist such safety measures. They would prefer that any state legislation that exceeds what has already been enacted by the federal government to be prohibited.
The laws concerning worker safety are complicated, but an attorney experienced in the area of workers’ compensation and workers’ safety can assist that worker and his family in receiving compensation for injuries or illness. Such representation can force a hospital or medical center to make needed changes to insure worker safety in the future.
Employees at hospitals could be facing the same risks if employers repeatedly ignore warnings and safety recommendations. If these facilities are not held accountable, serious injuries to employees is likely to continue to occur.
Source: NJ.com, “Stronger safeguards needed in N.J. hospitals, nursing homes,” by Ann Twomey & Chrystal Distant, Jan. 13, 2012