Working in the field of healthcare has it’s own set of advantages, and disadvantages. We typically associate those workers wit being helpful, healthy, and able to cure our ailments. But what happens when those tasked with helping us, contract something as a result? You might not think so, but work-related healthcare field injuries are quite common, due to the nature of the job.
Work-related Healthcare Field Injuries: More Common Than You Might Think
Assisting patients with limited mobility
Many patients suffer from limited mobility. In short, this means they struggle to move around on their own. While this applies to those in wheel chairs or on gurneys, it can also include the elderly. In the case of these patients, some help his required to help them get around. For healthcare workers, this can require putting yourself in a compromising position to assist those in need. Therefore, it’s common that these people will receive neck and back injuries as a result.
Exposure to toxins
In the world of work-related healthcare field injuries, exposure to toxins can be quite common. There are plenty of precautions in place to try and prevent those injuries. But depending on the circumstances of the patient; the potential is high. For instance, if you work in the emergency room, you have a higher chance of coming into contact with bodily fluids, blood, and contamination than in a more controlled environment. As we’ve said, precautions are there but accidents still happen.
Slip and falls
In areas such as hospitals, spills and cleanups happens all the time. Therefore, falls can be quite common, causing injury. In addition to spills, wires from medical equipment can also cause falls.
Injuries within the healthcare field can be dangerous. They can both take place at once or develop over time and come in the forms of physical injury or illness. In fact, some can have lasting affects on your life and health. For this reason, you may be able to receive benefits and compensation for your injury.
Staying safe when operating in confined work spaces can be difficult. Being that these spaces create a whole new set of hazards, they require a few different guidelines and protocol. For this reason specifically, OSHA felt it necessary to develop specific safety regulations for this setting alone. Through this rule, OSHA defines ‘confined spaces’ and by doing so, they can outline the responsibilities, and employer duties for this specific type of at-risk worker.
Confined Work Spaces: Defining and Outlining them
A confined work space, as now defined, is an area that presents special dangers to the workers in some way. These dangers can include things such as, poor ventilation, and areas that provide insufficient oxygen, or dangerous level of gases. Furthermore, if these areas present a danger of illness, injury, or entrapment, the worker must have a special permit to work within that space. Ultimately, to operate under these conditions, an employee must meet certain guidelines. Therefore, the employer must do the same.
Under this new rule, employers have a few steps to take before allowing a worker to operate:
Training the workers. By this rule, employers must make sure their workers receive the right training first. In this training, workers should learn what to do in the event of injury. Also, they will learn how to work safely, and protect themselves and fellow workers. In the event that something goes wrong, they should have an escape plan.
Plan how to rescue injured workers. Since most of these confined spaces will not have more than one exit, an escape plan is necessary. In fact, employers should have a plan of rescue before workers go in these areas. This plan should include a way to retrieve workers quickly and safely.
Many types of workers operate in these areas everyday. For this reason, it is best to be proactive and use caution. By following closely what OSHA set out, there is a better chance of avoiding trouble. Resulting injuries, when they occur, have severe side effects. Those effects, can impact your quality of life. Therefore, when these types of injuries occur, it’s important that you speak to someone. You might not want to hire a lawyer, but there might arise a time when that’s your only option.
If you have been hurt on the job, and the doctor says you could potentially face life-long impairment, you might hope to seek a second opinion. After all, you only get one body and one chance at life. So, why not make sure it’s in the best condition possible? However, the difficult bit about seeking a second opinion in a worker’s injury, is that worker’s comp claims and processes are quite strict in what they cover, and who you see…
Seeking Second Opinion in Worker’s Injury: Am I Allowed?
With normal cases of sickness or injury, you are able to visit your personal doctor. After receiving their diagnoses, you have the option to seek out a second opinion if you wish, especially if the first doctor is suggesting something major. However, when it comes to a worker’s injury, getting that second opinion can be difficult due to the worker’s comp process.
May I seek out a new perspective?
While there are plenty of reasons you may want a second opinion in your worker’s comp case, the question is can you get one? For the most part, you may be able to request another doctor in order to get another opinion. However, while you may request a second opinion from the worker’s comp insurance, there is no guarantee they will approve it. In addition, it will most likely still be within the same network of your employer’s choosing. Therefore, the doctor will likely garner the same opinion. In short, a second opinion may be available, and you can request it but there is no guarantee.
Why seeking a second opinion might be the way to go
In most cases, employers will require that you see a doctor of their choosing. Since they are covering the medical bill through worker’s comp, they hold the right to choose your doctor. However, this means that you will be using a doctor you are unfamiliar with. This can be counterproductive for a number of reasons… For one, you may not feel fully comfortable divulging all information. Therefore, your treatment options and their perception might be different than what you need. For example, you may hesitate to fully describe the events of your accident or the pain you are in. Furthermore, you may feel you cannot fully trust his method of treatment. In some cases, you may feel the doctor is bias since your employer is the one who employed him.
If you choose to seek out a second opinion…
You will likely have to do so on your own, and out of your own pocket, if you wish to see the doctor of your choosing. But, it might be worth doing so for your own safety and healing process. The treatment plan your personal doctor can be supplemental to the worker’s comp assistance, or you can choose to take that route entirely. Ultimately, your healing process is up to you. However, if you choose to see your own doctor, the costs might be a bit higher for you… However, an attorney can typically request a hearing to order that second opinion. Ultimately, the hope of any worker’s comp claim is to reduce disability as much as possible.
One of the most important things when securing employment, is job security. We want to work somewhere where we’re valued, where we feel safe, and where we know that we can provide for our family. Because all of these things are important to us, it can be extremely difficult when you find yourself hurt on the job, or needing to take some time to help your family. Workplace injuries, and extended leave, can be frightening for a number of reasons; from the injury itself, to getting compensated, and making sure that you are not wrongfully terminated. However, in most cases, there are certain protections in place for when you face a medical leave…
Job Security and Worker’s Comp: What Protections Do I Have?
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
One way you may have some protection is through the Family and Medical Leave Act. Due to this federal law, you can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. This leave is for either you to take care of your own health issues, or someone in your family. While FMLA is unpaid, you can still receive disability benefits through worker’s compensation. In fact, many employer’s want you to take the FMLA leave while suffering from an on-the-job-injury. Furthermore, while using this leave an employer cannot legally fire you. So this form of leave offers a viable form of job protection when you need time away.
Not all companies are subject to FMLA. In the case that they are, there are still some guidelines to it. First of all, you will need to have a year of employment with that company under your belt. Furthermore, you must also have 1,250 hours of work from the proceeding year with that company to qualify for these benefits.
Checking With Your Job
If you suffer from a work injury that requires time off, it’s important that you file a claim immediately. By filing a claim, you ensure your protection and compensation if your employer tries to get out of paying for your injury. Ultimately, the time off you’ll need is of upmost concern. So, when trying to decide how to go about getting the extra time you need, consider the FMLA and see if you’re eligible for it. With this act, you may be able to get the time off for recovery while also maintaining your job security.
If you are currently dealing with a form of spinal cord injuries, you know that they can be quite painful. Maybe you haven’t made it to the doctor yet. Whether you don’t have insurance, or you feel you can treat this injury on your own— the pain can be extremely difficult to bear. We highly advise that you see a doctor, especially if this injury occurred in the workplace. However, if you’re trying to diagnose the injury first, it’s important to understand that there are different types of these injuries. Types of spinal cord injuries can vary depending on what area of the spine becomes damaged.
Depending on which segment, you may experience different symptoms. In general, most of these injuries can split into two categories. First of which is incomplete spinal cord injuries. With these types of injuries, the cord severs only partly. However, in the case of complete spinal cord injuries, the cord becomes fully severed.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Which Part of Your Spine is Suffering?
Cervical spinal injuries. These exist in the upper part of the body. In general, this segment of the spinal cord make up seven vertebrae: C1-C7. Being that they make up the portion of the neck and work closely with the brain, these injuries can be the most serious. For the most part, any injury within this area can result in limited or absence of feeling from the shoulders on down the body.
Thoracic. Working the way down the spine, the thoracic region consists of the upper to middle part of the back. In this area, 12 vertebrae make up the region, numbered T1-T12. Throughout T1 and T5, the nerves and muscles help regulate breathing. While the lower T6-T12 help control posture and coughing.
Lumbar spinal injuries. Within the lumbar section, you can find the largest vertebrae in your body. This is due to the fact that this portion supports the most weight. For this reason, injuries to this area normally cause a loss of function in the hips and legs. However, the upper parts of the body usually still maintain their normal use.
Sacral. This part of the spine exists at the very bottom and just above the tailbone. These vertebrae, numbered S1-S4, fuse five bones to make up its triangular shape. For the most part, injuries in this area only occurs during a serious fall. While these injuries may not leave you unable to walk, it can affect the nerves that control pelvic organs.
Diagnosing the right spinal cord injury is extremely important
Your spinal cord is pretty much your lifeline. It holds you up, transports information, supports your brain, and has much to do with nerve function. So, if you face an injury in this region— it’s important to have it treated properly. A spinal cord injury doesn’t have to hinder your function indefinitely, but it does have the potential. So speak with a doctor, come up with a plan of action, and follow it closely. We wish you luck in the journey to recovery, and offer our services if you might need them.
Maybe you recently bumped your head while at work. Maybe you were working under a shelf, you sat up, and pop; you have a knot on your head. These kinds of small injuries and accidents happen all the time, and most go unnoticed because it doesn’t feel like a big deal. But no symptom work accidents can end up causing problems in the long run. Ultimately, just because you don’t have immediate symptoms, doesn’t mean there’s no damage…
No Symptom Work Accidents: Facing Delayed Pain?
We mostly associate pain with something not being right in our bodies. However, sometimes pain and injuries may take some time to show themselves. And if you’re facing a work injury, you might be looking for signs as to whether you should report it or not. So, when you feel okay, you’ll likely keep on going and forget it happened. But, with time, maybe that spot continues to hurt, maybe your neck still cramps every day in that certain position. So, we decide to see a doctor.
Should I still report an injury even if I’m not yet experiencing symptoms?
The answer is most certainly, yes. In the case of some injuries, you may have almost no symptoms. However, you may still, in fact, be injured. In many cases, symptoms can take a while to develop. For things like back and joint issues, an initial injury may bring about very few if any symptoms. But over time, that injury can cause pain, discomfort, and many other issues. Let’s look back at that head injury we discussed up top; after experiencing a minor blow to the head or neck, you may not feel too many symptoms. However, by the end of the day you may be coping with a splitting headache.
Following Procedure Even When You Aren’t Hurting
Since symptoms can develop later and become much more severe, it’s always best to follow procedure after an accident. Reporting that initial accident is the smart move to make, even if the injury does not progress. Ultimately, making that report acts as your insurance policy for if, or when, your injury progresses. Plus, it gives you the chance to be proactive in seeing a doctor.
If you, or someone you know, has faced a work injury— you must report it. By doing so, you ensure your own well-being, and make sure you aren’t covering costs for something that happened as a result of your job. So, as always, work safe. But, if you face an injury, cover your bases.