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Potential dangers of nursing in Illinois

Although many would consider a hospital to be one of the safest places to work, the reality is that nurses suffer more back and arm injuries than workers in just about any other profession. Every year, tens of thousands of nurses are injured while moving and lifting patients, something that is a regular part of their job.

In spite of the fact that hospitals can greatly reduce worker injuries with proper training and special equipment to help move patients, these practices have not become commonplace. Federal researchers found that the Veterans Administration hospital system managed to reduce nurse injuries related to moving patients by 40 percent by adopting these practices. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attempted to create new regulations that would require employers to provide better protections for workers that normally suffered from ergonomic injuries in 2000, they failed to pass.

Despite the failure of a law to be created at the national level, 10 states have managed to pass laws that provide protections for nurses. However, even in states where these laws are on the books, they may not be being properly enforced. Inspections are required to verify working conditions, and many states have not budgeted for them, which still leaves hospital workers facing unnecessary risks when doing their job.

Workplace injuries are common in a number of industries, and they can keep people from being able to perform their jobs on a temporary or permanent basis. If someone has been injured at or due to their work, a lawyer may be able to help them seek workers' compensation benefits, which can include coverage for lost wages and medical care.

Source: NPR, "Despite High Rates Of Nursing Injuries, Government Regulators Take Little Action," Daniel Zwerdling, March 24, 2015

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