More safeguards needed for health care workers, report finds

Workers in the health care industry face a host of unique challenges every time they report for work. They never know what to expect, and they have to be ready to respond to emergencies with no advance warning. If they are not paying close attention to the patients in their care, it can lead to very tragic results.

While these workers are well-accustomed to the demands of their jobs, they must also deal with some of the dangers that accompany many of these tasks. Many employees have to lift heavy patients out of beds, and may suffer serious back injuries. Others may be exposed to illnesses that require individuals to miss work. Those injuries and illnesses may lead to requests for workers' compensation benefits for health care workers.

A new report states that many of these workers are being unnecessarily exposed to some dangerous conditions. The report, by national non-profit organization Public Watch, highlighted some of the shortfalls in protection being experienced by workers in the health care industry. The group is concerned about the lack of progress that governmental oversight groups have made in their efforts to help prevent workplace injuries for health care workers.

According to the study, health care workers have a higher rate of injury and illness than any other occupation. In 2010, Public Watch reports that there were over 650,000 injuries and illnesses suffered by health care workers, which is 152,000 more than the second-place occupation, manufacturing.

The report is once again increasing pressure on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to become more proactive in developing new rules for workplaces in the health care field. This includes hiring more individuals to monitor facilities, which at the current time may be too costly for the agency.

Unfortunately, if these concerns are not addressed soon, they could become worse in the future. Many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities may experience a significant increase in patients as the baby-boomer generation continues aging. If the workers are not protected, it could mean more individuals forced to take time off of work due to serious workplace industries.

If you have been injured on the job, speak to an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible about filing a claim for benefits. An attorney can ensure that you are following all of the necessary steps to be eligible for these benefits, and also assist you with any roadblocks that may arise while you are receiving treatment.

The workers' compensation rules can be very confusing for those who have never had any previous workplace injuries. It is extremely important that you follow all of the requirements that are in place, as failing to do so may result in certain benefits being deemed unavailable. If that happens, you may be forced to pay for your own treatment, which can be very costly if the injuries are serious.