Working in the health care industry is a positive and rewarding endeavor for many in New Jersey and across the nation. These workers are essential and have only just recently started to get the recognition they deserve. Still, there are fundamental dangers that go with the territory. Health care can be a physically, mentally and emotionally demanding job with a negative impact on those who work in the industry. For health care professionals who are injured or become ill because of their work, it is important to understand the workers’ compensation process and how to maximize their benefits.
OSHA emphasizes employers’ need to protect health care workers
As health care workers were set to be acknowledged for their contributions on National Caregivers Day, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implored employers to take a closer look at avoiding injuries and protecting their workers. In the most recent comprehensive statistics for injuries in the workplace for health care employees, the numbers are increasing to a worrisome degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that in 2020, health care workers in the private sector had a spike of 800,000 injuries and illnesses. In 2019, it was 575,200. Nurses and nursing assistants had a massive uptick in injuries and missed workdays from 2019 to 2020. For registered nurses, there was an increase in missed workdays of nearly 291% to almost 79,000 days. Nursing assistance had an increase of nearly 250%. These issues are, in part, due to the ongoing health challenges. Regardless of the national circumstances, however, these workers are in constant danger of back injuries, broken bones, cuts and more.
Health care worker injuries may warrant workers’ compensation benefits
While the dangers to health care workers are just now getting widespread attention, those in the industry have long known what they face every day. The physical inability to perform the basics of the job will leave a health care employee wondering how they will get the treatment they need and cover for lost pay. Workers’ compensation is essential to receiving medical care and covering for wage loss. Even though employers are stating how much they appreciate their health care workers, that does not mean they will automatically agree about an injury claim. When moving forward on a claim, if there is a dispute or an outright denial, it is important to have guidance to be approved for workers’ compensation benefits.