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Report identifies emerging safety issues in the healthcare field

As we've made clear in previous posts, those men and women who earning a living in the healthcare sector as nurses, nursing assistants and aides are at an elevated risk of suffering serious work-related injuries given the physical demands and other risks they encounter during the course of a typical shift.

Interestingly enough, Aon Global Risk Consulting recently released its much-anticipated biennial report on workers' compensation in the healthcare field, which in addition to examining the severity, frequency and total loss rates associated with work comp claims, also identified emerging trends of which employers and employees alike should be aware.

Overall, the report, which analyzed data supplied by 1,600 healthcare facilities throughout the U.S., determined that while claim frequency in this area should drop by 1 percent annually, the severity of claims submitted has nevertheless been rising by 2 percent annually.

As far as the aforementioned emerging safety trends in the healthcare field, the researchers identified the following:

  • Safe patient handling: The report indicates that health care facilities looking to minimize this injury risk and, by extension, reduce work comp claims, must consider the introduction of best practices and initiatives for patient handling. Indeed, it stated that facilities that have implemented Safe Patient Handling and Mobility programs have dramatically reduced both the cost of work comp claims and the incidence of work injuries among staff.
  • Aging employees: The report indicates that the costs associated with work comp claims filed by healthcare workers only increase with age. To illustrate the depth of this problem, it points out that 53 percent of working nurses, the most frequently injured of all healthcare employees, are currently 50 and over. To help address this problem, the researchers suggest the introduction of policies transitioning older healthcare workers to less physically demanding or even different duties.
  • Workplace violence: The report details the unfortunate reality that healthcare, much like many other sectors, is no longer immune to workplace violence. In fact, it found that as many as 91 percent of people who responded to survey questions indicated that they had experienced an incident of workplace violence within the previous three years. The good news, however, is that the report concluded that while this will continue to be an issue, the majority of healthcare establishments have implemented the necessary steps to keep workers safe.

It will be interesting to see how much of an issue these three trends becoming over the next few years.

If you are a healthcare worker -- or any other worker -- who has suffered a serious injury while on the job and your work comp claim has been denied, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who will fight on your behalf.

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