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THE MONTHLY HMMM… Are Nursing Home Workers at a Greater Risk of Injury?

Nursing home worker helping a senior man out of bed.

Nursing home workers are injured on the job far more frequently than one might think. In fact, data shows that nurses and health aides consistently have one of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness in the nation.

The Ohio workers’ compensation system allows employees to seek coverage for medical expenses, missed wages, and disability benefits if they are hurt on the job. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, including nursing homes and residential care facilities.

Workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to be provided regardless of fault. Unfortunately, many deserving employees are denied despite having valid claims. At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, our experienced attorneys will stand up for you. We take claims seriously. We’re proud to fight for the rights of nursing home workers in northeastern Ohio and the Mahoning Valley.

Put us to work for you. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

Nursing Home Workers Are at Greater Risk of Injury

Nursing home workers suffer a disproportionate number of injuries compared to employees in other occupations. There are roughly 6 injuries per 100 full-time workers, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a higher injury rate than in industries that are commonly known to be dangerous, including transportation, construction, and manufacturing.

The most common causes of injuries found among nursing home workers include:

  • Overexertion/repetitive stress: The nature of nursing home work is taxing on the body. Nurses, nursing assistants, and orderlies perform duties that require a lot of physical labor, such as shifting patients and transferring them from bed to bath and back again. In the process, workers’ bodies often shift in awkward positions to prevent unsteady residents from falling or being dropped.
  • Violence: Nursing home workers are at a heightened risk of workplace violence. Elderly and disabled patients may be combative due to dementia or other impairments, leading to dangerous assaults.
  • Needle sticks: Healthcare workers frequently must administer medications by injection. A patient that moves unexpectedly could cause the needle to prick the employee by accident.
  • Slips, trips, and falls:  If spilled liquids or obstacles such as wheelchairs and walkers are left in a worker’s path, he or she could suffer a painful slip and fall.
  • Understaffing: Nursing homes are notoriously understaffed. As a result, workers have more patients and less time to get their jobs done. They also may be faced with performing heavy physical tasks, such as shifting patients, alone.

If you’ve been injured while working in an Ohio nursing home, let the proven workers’ compensation attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, review your case. Obtaining maximum workers’ compensation benefits can help prevent financial hardships while you recover.

What are the Top Injuries and Illnesses Among Nursing Home Workers?

Nursing home workers suffer a wide variety of job injuries, including:

  •  Musculoskeletal disorders: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that musculoskeletal injuries are most common among health aides, orderlies, and certified nursing assistants. These include back injuries, overexertion injuries such as muscle sprains and strains, tendonitis, shoulder injuries, and elbow injuries.
  • Blood-borne pathogens: Accidental needle sticks could expose workers to a wide variety of blood-based viruses and infections, such as Hepatitis B and C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and malaria.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that is passed through the air, in saliva, or in droplets after sneezing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified nursing home workers as being one of the groups with the highest risk of TB infection, as most cases occur in patients over age 65.
  • Broken bones: An unexpected slip and fall accident could result in broken legs, wrists, arms, and ankles.
  • Head injuries: Workplace violence or a bad fall could result in a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

How Can Workers’ Compensation Help Me If I Am Injured or Sick?

Workers’ compensation will cover your medical expenses, pay a portion of your lost wages, and provide other disability benefits as you recover from your injuries. These benefits can be a critical lifeline for injured workers, who might otherwise suffer financially or not be able to afford the medical care they need.

To receive workers’ compensation in Ohio, employees must be able to show that their injury or illness arose within the scope and course of their employment. That is not always easy. Claimants need to provide sufficient proof in order to be approved for coverage. Unfortunately, these claims are often denied on a technicality or due to a missed deadline.

For more than 30 years, the skilled attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, have helped nursing home workers fight for full and fair workers’ compensation benefits. We know how hard you work. We know what’s at stake. We’re here to make sure that you get the workers’ compensation that you are owed.

Will Workers’ Comp Cover COVID-19 Illness?

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the nation, and its long-term consequences are not yet fully understood. One of the biggest questions is whether individuals who work on the frontlines, such as health care workers, will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19.

Currently, Ohio workers’ compensation laws create a “presumption” of injury or illness for firefighters and law enforcement officers who develop cardiovascular, pulmonary, or respiratory diseases if they have been exposed to toxins when responding to an emergency. The presumption automatically assumes that the injury is work-related, though employers may still dispute it.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Ohio lawmakers have a bill pending that would create a similar presumption for healthcare workers if they contracted the coronavirus during a certain timeframe. If it passes, nursing home workers would also be granted the presumption. As always, the law firm of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, will continue to monitor development in COVID-19 workers’ compensation laws in Ohio.

Let A Trusted Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney Handle Your Nursing Home Injury Case

At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, we fight for injured and disabled employees to get the workers’ comp benefits they are entitled to under Ohio law. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are proud to represent the selfless northeastern Ohio nursing home workers who put themselves at risk every day to care for our most nation’s most vulnerable sector. Now let us work for you. Call today to arrange your free case review with a top Ohio personal injury attorney.