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Healthcare Workers Face Rising Number of On-the-Job Injuries

Employers in the Boston, Massachusetts area use thousands of workers who face dangerous conditions at work every day. Construction workers must climb to extreme heights, road crews work on road construction projects in rush-hour traffic, and law enforcement personnel often find themselves in the line of fire. But according to a statement released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in November, healthcare workers, such as nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, are more likely to be accidentally injured on the job, and miss more days of work, than most other workers, including construction workers and policemen or policewomen.

The data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, identified the nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2010. The report found that the incidence rate for health care support workers increased by 6 percent to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, almost 2 1/2 times the rate for all private and public sector workers. The rate among nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rose by 7 percent, to 489 per 10,000 workers.  Additionally, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants increased by 10 percent, to a rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers.

Injuries among nursing aides and orderlies can occur when health care workers lift patients, lift heavy equipment or lean over bed rails in awkward positions when caring for a patient. Musculoskeletal problems, which may include back injuries, can be debilitating and leave a worker with life-long pain and suffering.

According to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), in 2009 Massachusetts’ direct-care workforce, which provides daily living assistance and support to the infirm, totaled nearly 100,000 workers and was larger than almost any other occupational grouping in the state. Only retail, with over 110,000 workers, had more employees.

PHI also pointed out that these healthcare employees are among the state’s lowest-paid workers, with wages that fall far below the median hourly wage for all occupations in the state. As a result, many of these workers cannot afford their own health insurance, and many are forced to work multiple jobs to meet their daily expenses.

Fortunately, all employers in Massachusetts are required by state law to have workers’ compensation insurance covering their employees. Workers’ compensation entitles an injured worker to payment for medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to the accident. If a healthcare worker is injured at work, he or she may be eligible for compensation. Compensation is based on base wages, overtime, bonuses and other income the worker earned before being injured.

While it is critical to receive the necessary medical care to recover from your injuries, it is also important to contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer if you have been injured at work. The MA workplace injury attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. represent individuals injured in the course of their employment.

About Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

For more than 20 years, Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., has zealously represented the interests of injured and ill workers throughout Massachusetts, including but not limited to Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth and Merrimack River. We also represent Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents whose injuries occurred in Massachusetts or who were hired in Massachusetts but who were injured out of state.

For a free case evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, please complete our online form or call Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., toll-free at (800) 367-0871 to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.