If there's any workplace where you can get quick treatment for an injury, it's a hospital. This leads some people to assume that this line of work is fairly safe. It's far easier to imagine factory workers getting hurt by heavy equipment, logging workers getting injured at remote locations and construction workers falling from heights. Working as a doctor or a nurse appears to be a low-risk job, at least to someone outside of the industry.
The reality, though is that these are some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Here are a few key points to consider from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
High injury rates
First off, the rate of illness and injury in the hospital work environment is 6.0 cases for every 100 workers who hold full-time positions. That's a very high rate, often outranking more "traditionally dangerous" jobs. The two examples given by the BLS are manufacturing and construction.
You may think of a doctor as someone who strolls the halls in a white coat or a nurse as someone who sits behind a counter in the hallway, but these reports clearly show that it's a far more physical job than that. Just moving a patient, especially in a country with such a high obesity rate, can be enough to cause serious back and arm injuries.
High financial costs
In addition to the soaring injury rates, the cost of those injuries tends to be quite high. This is, in part, due to the fact that the injuries are serious, which means they require significant medical care. That's not cheap. In addition, workers who miss time may rack up a lot in lost wages. A doctor who is earning more than $100,000 per year has a lot more money on the line than a factory worker making $12 an hour.
A large industry
Finally, it's important to remember that this industry is bigger than just hospitals alone. Experts divide it into three main categories. Along with their percentage of injuries in the health care industry as a whole, they are:
- Hospitals: 36%
- Ambulatory health care services: 43%
- Nursing and residential care facilities: 21%
It's important to note that ambulatory care services include many of the locations that people visit for common injuries and illnesses, such as labs, outpatient facilities and doctors' offices.
If you work in this industry, you need to know the risks and the potential financial costs. You also need to make sure you know all of the legal options in Colorado that you may have to seek compensation for those costs.