Working in a nursing home environment is surprisingly rigorous—in fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing homes and personal care facilities were among the highest ranked for injuries and illnesses within the industries for which calculations for lost workday injury and illness rates are performed. In fact, those who toil in the business of caring for others in a residential care facility posted an injury and illness rate that is almost three times more than that for private industry altogether. Consider the myriad exposure to health and safety that you, as a healthcare worker, are exposed to on a daily basis—and you’ll understand how these risks can turn into assisted living workers compensation claims.
Exposure to all manner of things that can threaten your health as you come in contact with them include:
- Blood-borne pathogens
- Biological dangers
- Respiratory hazards
- Powerful chemicals and drugs used for sterilization or preservation, such as formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, and paracetic acid
- Lasers, x-ray, and radioactive materials
Another major risk is that of ergonomic injury due to the lifting and repetitive motions that go hand in hand with caregiving. These injuries are not limited solely to caregivers, but include those workers who provide housekeeping, mechanical and medical equipment maintenance, food service, laundry, and administrative support. It’s interesting (and troubling) to note that the highest rate of musculoskeletal complaints among all occupations in 2010 involved nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants. These staff workers posted 249 injuries for every 10,000 workers—which may not seem like much, until you realize that the average number of such injuries that year for all workers was 34!
To avoid excessive assisted living workers compensation claims, facility administrators must ensure that everyone—from groundskeepers to nursing aides, office staff, and more—are trained to follow proper safety and health procedures that are appropriate for each job. Observing a safety-first environment will help everyone involved refrain from becoming one more statistic on the injured list.