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Healthcare workers and work comp, part 1: big industry, many risks

The healthcare industry is a huge part of the national economy.

To be sure, there are many people who believe that costs are too high. And of course the country has been deeply divided over implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Still, it is undeniable that doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are a key component of the nation's workforce. In this two-part post, we will discuss some of the risks they face of on-the-job illnesses and injuries that may be covered by workers' compensation.

In terms of overall numbers, there are more than 18 million workers in the healthcare industry across the country. And this number continues to increase, at a rate faster than any other industry.

These workers are of course focused on caring for patients. But they often put themselves at risk in doing so.

The risks these workers run are legion – as in many and various. They include:
• Needlestick injuries
• Back injuries, such as from lifting patients in and out of bed
• Allergies to latex gloves
• Assaults by patients and other forms of violence

These are only some of the hazards that healthcare workers face. For more information, please visit our page on workers’ compensation for healthcare workers.

Consider also this comparative perspective from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, healthcare workers face rates of occupational illnesses and work injuries that exceed those of most other industries.

Needlesticks, for example, can be particularly dangerous. This is because they carry the risk of exposing a healthcare worker to hepatitis or even HIV.

In part two of this post, we will look in more detail at some of the other hazards healthcare workers face.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention, "Healthcare Workers," Accessesd March 28, 2014

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