Our Gastonia workers’ compensation lawyers recently published a blog about the key findings of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2010 workplace illness and injury report.
What we found so interesting in these findings was the fact that healthcare and social service workers were injured more than workers in construction and manufacturing. We touch on this subject briefly on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Blog regarding assaults in the workplace.
It is hard to believe that working in a nursing home can cause more injuries than working at a construction site but 2010 labor statistics provide data to support the notion. Think about the daily lifting and moving that needs to be done for patients, which includes getting them in and out of bed, lifting them into wheelchairs, assisting them with bathing and using the bathroom. It can be back breaking work. Exposure to infectious agents and body fluids is also a risk that healthcare personnel face regularly.
According to BLS, the residential care and nursing subsector employs over 3 million workers nationwide. In the 2010 illness and injury report, nursing home workers were injured at a rate of 8.6/100 full-time workers. This amount is two times the occurrence rate of all private sector employees.
By comparison coal miners get injured at a rate of 5.6, building construction workers at 3.5 and workers in tire manufacturing at 4.8.
Nursing care facility workers that require time off from work, a job transfer or limited duty occurs at a rate of 5.6/100 full-time workers. The three previously mentioned areas coal mining, tire manufacturing and building construction had rates of 3.7, 1.7 and 3.3 respectively.
It is interesting that health care and social assistance and manufacturing have the same time off from work, job transfer or limited duty rate of 2.4/100 full-time workers. The construction sector as a whole has a rate of 2.1/100 full-time workers. Yet inspections in the health care and social assistance sector are few and far between. About 17.1 million people work in manufacturing and construction jobs and their workplaces got 78 percent of OSHA’s inspections. The social assistance and health care industry has at least 16 million workers and receives under 2 percent of OSHA’s inspections.
In the OSHA press release regarding the BLS statistics, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said she was concerned about injured healthcare workers and vowed to do more to decrease their risks. We hope this includes more inspection of these facilities.
Just last month we posted on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Blog about OSHA’s SST program which targets, for inspection, hazardous work environments based on high injury rates. Just to be considered for an inspection, nursing homes have to have a time off from work, job transfer or limited duty rate of 16/100 full-time workers. In 2010, 175 nursing homes were inspected under this program, which is .6 percent of all OSHA inspections.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working in a nursing home or other workplace, contact the attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for assistance and a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Influenza a Common Gastonia Work Illness as Seasons Change in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 22, 2011.