When most New York residents think of workplace injuries, construction and oil fields are typically the first industries to come to mind. However, a surprising number of nurses also experience injuries while on the job. While the injuries a nurse experiences may not initially appear as catastrophic as, for example, those caused by a falling machine or explosion, the detrimental effects of injuries and illness can be lasting.
The New York State Nurses Association highlighted the growing issue of nurses experiencing injuries on the job, stating on their website that, as of 2015, healthcare workers actually suffer more injuries than any other profession. A large number of those injuries involve the handling of patients. In 2013 alone, the healthcare and social assistance industry reported an alarming 629,500 cases of injury and illness to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With many healthcare shifts lasting 12 hours or more, it makes sense that almost half of these cases arise from over-exertion. Yet a healthcare-related injury does not only affect the employee; hospitals must also pay for workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical costs, temporary staffing, back-filling and other necessary costs. Many blame the dated technology that so many hospitals still use, and that if hospitals updated such equipment, nurses would experience less lifting-related injuries.
The solution to nurse injuries on the job may be complex, but Daily News brings to attention another workplace injury issue: that of reporting incidents. In a webpage modification that was noticed by few, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration delayed the rule for employers to improve records of workplace injuries and illnesses. Although this change may seem minor, it could potentially make matters worse in the world of workplace injuries. The cause for the delay in OSHA’s rule is unknown, but the rule also prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for reporting injuries or illnesses.