People who work in hospitals, whether as medical providers, security or support staff, are there to protect others’ health. But for too many of those employees, their own health is put at risk. Zippia recently published study results showing that hospitals are actually the most dangerous workplaces in Illinois. According to the same study, hospitals are the second-most dangerous industry nationwide, behind only roofing and construction.
For people who work in hospitals, these results, sadly, shouldn’t be too surprising. Here are some of the most significant risk factors for people who work in hospitals:
- Hospitals are notorious for having many employees work very long shifts. Because they are open 24/7, working at a hospital can wreak havoc on a worker’s sleep cycle. Tired workers are more likely to be involved in incidents causing injury.
- By definition, hospitals are home to many dangerous diseases as well as potentially dangerous substances used to treat those diseases. Hospital workers are constantly at risk of being exposed to pathogens and developing occupational illnesses.
- Unpredictable environment. There’s no such thing as a routine shift in a hospital. Employees have to make split-second decisions to respond to constantly changing and unpredictable events. Under those circumstances, injuries become more likely.
- Medical culture: Medical professionals have a strong ethical duty to prioritize their patients’ health. Sometimes, that means putting their own safety at risk in order to help a patient.
Many types of injuries are common in hospitals. Our attorneys have represented people who have sustained all of the following injuries:
- Overexertion injuries from carrying and repositioning patients, especially with obesity on the rise.
- Trip and fall injuries in cluttered and crowded hospital corridors.
- Assaults by patients who are unstable and become violent.
- Needle sticks and other exposure to dangerous or hazardous substances.
As advocates for the injured, we applaud medical professionals for being willing to put their own health on the line to care for sick and injured patients. But the reality is that a safer workplace for hospital employees is also a safer environment for patients. Many incidents that can cause injury to hospital workers, such as lifting incidents, can also expose patients to significant injuries. Moreover, medical professionals can provide better care when they are themselves healthy and not worried about their own safety.
Hospitals have a responsibility, both to their employees and their patients, to create and maintain a safe work environment in the face of unique challenges. And when hospital workers sustain serious injuries, which happens far too often in Illinois, they need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side to fight for the benefits they deserve.