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Workers' compensation covers most hospital worker injuries

The public perception is that the highest numbers of workplace injuries occur in the construction and manufacturing industries. In fact, although construction is high on the list, the highest rate of on-the-job injuries in New York City and nationwide occur in hospitals to health-care workers. Most of those workplace injuries to hospital workers are covered by workers' compensation insurance benefits.

Nurses and other health-care personnel must take care to follow the basic protocols for reporting their work-related injuries. Trying to claim benefits at a later date that is weeks or months removed may result in an administrative delay or, worse, in a rejection of benefits. That is why a health-care worker should report the injury or work-related illness to the employer immediately or as soon as practically possible. The employer will usually have a set protocol for reporting a work-related injury.

This will include a written form that must be filled out with the details. Even as important as the reporting to the employer is the need to get immediate medical treatment for the injury so that the medical claim will be documented and easily tied in with the accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that the five top causes of workplace injuries for hospital workers are: (1) overexertion; (2) slips, trips and falls; (3) contact with objects; (4) violence; and (5) exposure to substances. 

The overexertion and bodily reaction category makes up about half of all hospital worker injuries. With respect to the violence category, it should be noted that this type of injury is usually covered by workers' compensation benefits in New York City. If the violence is work-related, it is covered. However, if it is not work-related, such as a domestic disturbance with a spouse, it will not be covered even though the injury is inflicted on the hospital premises.

Source:, "MultiBrief: Creating a culture of safety in nursing", Keith Carlson, June 9, 2017

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