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Common hazards faced by health care workers

Health care workers in Oklahoma hospitals face numerous workplace hazards every day. Staff members that work directly with patients are particularly prone to workplace injuries and illnesses. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hospital workers in the United States reported about 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2011.

Data shows that direct patient care workers have a workplace injury rate that is nearly twice the rate of other private industry workers, including workers in the construction industry. Some of the most common work-related injuries that affect nurses include overexertion, back injuries, needle sticks and injuries from falling or running into objects. Nurses are also commonly exposed to workplace hazards like infectious diseases, toxic substances and allergens.

Violence from coworkers and patients is another workplace safety concern for health care workers. OSHA says that workplace violence is a serious problem for nurses, especially during visiting hours, meal times and other hours of the day when staff numbers are low. Health care workers in emergency departments and mental health units deal with violence from patients on a regular basis. One emergency department study found that more than 12 percent of emergency room nurses are subjected to physical violence during a typical workweek.

A lawyer may be able to help a health care worker file claims for financial compensation after a workplace accident. If violence was involved, an injured health care worker may be able to claim workers' compensation benefits and file a third party personal injury complaint as well that would seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and other applicable amounts.

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