Many older people in Illinois live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Working in a nursing home can be physically challenging. The job may include duties such as lifting, transferring and bathing patients. A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney knows that incorrect or excessive lifting can cause disability in nursing home staff.
Lifting is a dangerous occupation
When a worker must lift a heavy or uncooperative person, injury can result. Improper ergonomic form can lead to severe strains and muscle tears. As the rate of obesity increases among older adults in America, resident care has become more dangerous. Immobile, obese nursing home residents are a health risk to themselves and to caregivers.
Hazardous work environment
When Americans think of hazardous work environments, they generally think of jobs such as construction or mining. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nursing home workers are more likely to suffer injuries requiring absence from work than people employed in mines and on construction sites. OSHA statistics reveal that the annual lost workday rate for nursing home staff is 4.9. This is almost three times greater than the average of 1.8 lost workdays per year across all industries.
Typical lifting injuries among nursing home staff
Common lifting injuries among nursing home workers include all of the following:
- Strains and sprains
- Rotator cuff tears
- Repetitive trauma to arms and hands
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries
These injuries can be temporarily or permanently disabling. A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney knows from experience that some people are unable to return to work after a lifting trauma.
Staying safer on the job
Nursing home employees can stay safer on the job. The physical challenges of caring for the elderly do not need to cause serious injury. Many nursing homes have implemented ergonomic safety programs for their staff. According to OSHA, these programs can lower injury rates dramatically if they are followed properly. One nursing facility in New England cut the number of missed work days by 96 percent after a safety program was put in place.
Options for injured nursing home workers
Injured workers should be aware of their options. Illinois workers’ compensation provides partial and total disability coverage for employees as they recover from their injuries. Employees also have the right to safety training and proper ergonomic conditions. People who have been hurt in a nursing home job may find it helpful to discuss their case with a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.