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OSHA says health care industry still has too many injured workers

Every industry has its share of on-the-job injuries, in Colorado and across the country. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the health care industry still has a disproportionately high amount of injured workers. The percentage of workers injured in health care is even higher than in construction and the oil and gas field. For this reason, OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities is being extended.

All 10 regional offices have been tasked with conducting audits and investigations regarding the medical facilities in their areas to identify safety issues. If any deficiencies or violations are found, fines may be imposed as well. As many Colorado health care workers already know, the most prevalent hazards they face are from lifting/moving patients, slips and falls and exposure to hazardous materials and blood borne pathogens.

For example, health care workers are routinely required to lift patients that can weigh hundreds of pounds. Equipment is available to reduce the possibility of injury to workers, but many facilities do not have it. As a consequence, workers often suffer injuries associated with improperly or repeatedly lifting patients. Injuries suffered by some workers result in permanent damage.

Injured workers in Colorado's health care facilities may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits to help with the medical expenses and financial losses that accompany a work injury. However, working through the system to obtain those benefits can be frustrating and intimidating. A workers' compensation attorney can represent an injured employee throughout the entirety of the process while seeking an award for the maximum benefits payable.

Source: healthcarefinancenews.com, "OSHA plans healthcare safety crackdown for injured nurses", Anthony Brino, June 11, 2015

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