Workplace Injuries Most Common Among Health Care Workers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's 2010 Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Report, health care workers are at a far greater risk for workplace injuries than people in any other industry.
In 2010, the health care industry had an injury rate of 5.2 accidents per every 100 workers, compared to 3.5 cases for all combined private industries. Two of the subcategories that make up the health care category, hospitals and nursing residential care facilities, had even higher rates of 7.0 and 8.3, respectively.
The leading causes of injuries in the health care field cited in the report were:
- Workers sustaining back injuries from picking up or helping move patients
- Slips, trips, and falls, usually the result of workers slipping on water spilled on the floors of hospitals, nursing homes, or health facilities
- Accidental needlesticks, which can result in a worker contracting a harmful blood-borne pathogen
How Pennsylvania compares to the national average is unknown because it does not report statistics statewide. However, individual hospitals within the state do issue internal reports pertaining to workplace injury rates. The rates for some of the Pittsburgh-area hospitals include:
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) 22 hospitals had a rate of 6.5 per every 100 workers.
- Excela Health, which owns Westmoreland Hospital, had a rate of 2.8 in 2010, and has a rate of 1.5 so far this year.
- Jefferson Regional said their rate was below the national average, but provided no specific figures.
There is a stark disparity between the injury rates in the health care sector and in other major industries, such as:
- Mining – 2.3 per 100 workers
- Construction – 4.0 per 100 workers
- Manufacturing – 4.4 per 100 workers
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