Unsafe practices endanger health care workers. To address this problem, health care facilities are subject to various regulations designed to reduce the risk of endangering health care workers’ safety. Unfortunately, even the most recent studies continue to show that health care facilities still have a ways to go when it comes to offering health care workers the protections they deserve.

When health care workers are informed of the threats they face on the job, they can better advocate for themselves and know how to take action to seek compensation when injury or illness occurs.

Study Sheds Light on Health Care Worker Safety

Unsafe Health Care Practices Are a Serious Risk

Health care workers are exposed to a huge array of occupational hazards every day. Some are related to workers’ proximity to communicable diseases, while others stem from unsafe health care practices. Dangers in this area include risks such as radiation exposure from using medical equipment.

One study published in the Journal of Family Medical and Primary Care sheds light on how certain health care practices significantly impact the health and safety of health care workers. Key findings from the study outline the central safety risks health care workers face daily.

The most significant health issues currently facing workers in the health care field can be sorted into biological and non-biological injuries. Biological injuries hold a 79% frequency rate. These injuries include:

  • Sharp-Related Injuries: 43%
  • Cuts and Wounds: 34%
  • Contact With Contaminated Specimens: 21%
  • Airborne Disease: 18%
  • Infectious Disease/Infection: 15%

At the same time, nonbiological injuries hold a 68% frequency rate. Some of these include:

  • Stress: 43%
  • Abuse: 21%
  • Musculoskeletal Injury: 21%
  • Slip, Trip, and Fall: 12%
  • Fractures: 10%
  • Other (Radiation, Burns, Chemical Spills): 20%

These sobering statistics show that health care facilities have a ways to go when it comes to protecting their workers from all types of workplace injuries.

How a Job Safety Analysis Can Help

Job hazards are a possibility in every industry. For health care workers, those hazards often involve exposure to serious or life-threatening health conditions. COVID-19 raised concerns about the impact of infectious disease exposure on those who work in the health care industry, but many precautions taken during the height of the pandemic have been abandoned.

One effective approach health care facilities can take to reduce the risk of injury and avoidable exposure to infectious disease is to regularly conduct a job safety analysis (JSA). JSAs are strongly encouraged by OSHA for employers in a variety of employment sectors.

A JSA examines areas in which a health care facility’s practices and protocols leave workers, patients, and visitors at risk of illness or infection. Taking the time to perform a JSA has far-reaching benefits for everyone. Some of the most noticeable benefits of a JSA include:

  • Workers and their families experience better health and quality of life.
  • Illness-related employee absences are reduced.
  • Patients receive higher-quality care.
  • Patient recovery times are not delayed by avoidable illness.
  • Visitors are protected from further adding to the rate of transmission and illness.
  • The health care facility protects itself from liability.

When a health care provider doesn’t bother to monitor how its practices can lead to harm, the cost includes a loss in efficiency, poor public perceptions, and legal and financial liability.

A Job Safety Analysis Focuses on Your Rights as a Patient or Employee

Job safety analyses of health care facilities have shown that these institutions can be a terrible breeding ground for infections and germs. The Centers for Disease Control states that every year 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections in health care centers.  It is also estimated that 75,000 people each year die from infections they get at the hospital.

When you go to work or enter a medical establishment as a patient, you do not expect to be harmed. It is the responsibility of the health care facility to ensure that proper protocol is followed to prevent infections among workers and patients, or it can be held liable.

If an infection spreads in a hospital and it affects workers and/or patients, it is possible that the health care facility could be sued for medical malpractice. Employees could be entitled to compensation in a worker’s comp claim. Even if the infection was spread by an employee’s failure to follow the rules, it is still possible to hold the health care facility responsible for your injuries.

Hazard Analysis and Injury Compensation

Health care providers often have the ability to set more stringent safety protocols than are required. However, many laws and regulations set by organizations like NIOSH, the CDC, and the WHO aren’t optional. When health care facilities violate safety regulations or fail to meet the professional standard of care toward patients and employees, they can be held financially responsible for the harm that results.

Health care workers who contract an illness or disease can file a worker’s compensation claim against the health care facility for endangering health care workers’ safety. Similarly, a patient who contracts an illness or whose health is otherwise harmed by the actions of health care facility staff or protocols may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

Depending on the circumstances of the illness or injury, patients, workers, and visitors might have grounds for a general personal injury claim. In all cases, dealing with legal action against a health care facility for unsafe health care practices is a serious matter. Dangers of such a claim include the risk of investigation, various forms of discipline, and serious financial consequences.

Proof that a health care facility failed to follow adequate safety protocols can cause the facility to have to pay for damage that includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Medical devices
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Attendant care
  • Therapist costs
  • Medication costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish.

Depending on the circumstances, a health care facility can even put itself at risk of further receiving an order to pay punitive damages atop other damages. For example, a staff member’s attempting to conceal malpractice can be grounds for punitive damages.

Taking Action Over Unsafe Health Care Practices

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

The purpose of the rules and regulations that govern the health care field is to protect the health and safety of health care workers, patients, and the general public. The best way for a health care facility to safeguard health and protect itself from liability is to conduct a regular job safety analysis and promptly address the report’s findings.

It’s essential for anyone employed in the medical field to be aware of how unsafe practices endanger health care workers. If you’re a health care worker who experienced injury or infection at a health care facility, you can learn more about your compensation options by consulting a personal injury lawyer who handles workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.

To learn more, call Mann Law Firm at (478) 742-3381 to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today.

Attorney David Mann

Attorney David MannBefore leading his own firm, Mann served for several years as in-house defense counsel for a large insurance company, which gives him unique insight into how insurance companies work. He uses this critical knowledge as an advantage for his clients. He is a tough negotiator and litigator, and he is exceptionally strategic in building cases on behalf of personal injury victims.[ Attorney Bio ]


8 Laws Georgia Drivers Should Know

It can be hard to remember every single driving law that exists, especially if it’s been many years since you attended your driver’s education class. Georgia periodically updates its laws,  which means there’s a good chance that some of the state’s...