Nurses work every day to help people get better, yet they are ironically among the most injury-prone workers in Georgia. The most common problem? The types of repetitive motion injuries associated with heavy lifting.
These injuries account for 44% of all workers’ compensation claims in the healthcare industry, and reporters recently looked at how Georgia hospitals have responded to them. The hospitals that installed lifting equipment have seen a big drop in the rate of workers’ compensation claims.
Safe patient handling is a top priority
Georgia’s nurses aren’t the only ones suffering from these injuries. Each year, lifting injuries cost America’s workers 18,090 days away from work. The American Nurses Association recommends nurses never manually lift their patients because these injuries are so frequent. And the injuries give the healthcare industry all kinds of problems, including:
- Sprains and strains, especially in the shoulders and lower back
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Reduced performance due to chronic pain
- Employee turnover
The good news is that there’s real incentive for hospitals to buy lifting devices. OSHA claims the direct and indirect costs of these injuries add up to almost $20 billion per year. And several of Georgia’s hospitals have already started reaping the rewards for their use of lifting devices. One astonishing result came from a hospital where sick days for nurses dropped from 2,138 to 137 over five years.
Act with care
Unfortunately, nurses may find that lifting devices aren’t always available. Some may see the devices arrive to hospitals too late to prevent the strain caused by years of patient handling. If you suffer a workplace injury, an experienced attorney can help you understand and pursue your rights to workers’ compensation.