New Jersey Hospital Workers Are At Significant Risk For Job-Related Injuries
Multiple workplace hazards put employees in jeopardy
A New Jersey hospital was recently fined more than $50,000 as the result of a complaint and federal government investigation initiated last year.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) levied the penalties against Cooper University Hospital after it identified several violations and infractions at the facility. Specifically, the probe found that an atypical number of employees faced potential exposure to “blood-borne pathogens” stemming from “accidental needle sticks.” The review also yielded evidence that protocol pertaining to observation of employees exposed or potentially exposed to a known carcinogen had not been followed.
In another case, a complaint prompted an OSHA investigation at Bergen Regional Medical Center last year. That evaluation found that several patients assaulted and or threatened employees within a few months. As a result, OSHA cited the center for “failing to keep the workplace free of hazards,” and for the improper documentation of workplace injuries. Hospital administrators then objected to the penalties, which totaled roughly $13,000.
These cases illustrate just a few of the hazards that put hospital workers at considerable risk for workplace injuries. But there are also routine activities that make some employees susceptible to relatively minor yet debilitating injuries. Moving or lifting patients is an example of one such activity.
Injuries frequently reported by hospital workers include sprains, strains, back aches, pulled muscles and so on. Broken bones, bruises, cuts and puncture wounds are also common.
Although there has been a recent decline in the number of workplace accidents at private and local hospitals, the statistics are still staggering. In 2014 alone, hospital workers sustained more than 290,000 “nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses.” Most of these happened at state-operated facilities. The incidence rate at state-run hospitals in 2014 was nearly 9 per 100 full-time workers. In comparison, there were 6.2 incidents per 100 full-time workers at private hospitals and slightly fewer (5.7 incidents per 100 full-time workers) at local hospitals. This discrepancy is attributed to variances in the types of hospitals and the types of patients treated at each one.
Another trend worth noting is that while the number of nonfatal accidents and illnesses at all but state-run hospitals has declined, it still tops the number of nonlethal accidents and illnesses in the private sector. In 2014, the incidence rate in the private sector was just 3.2 per 100 full-time workers, or approximately half of that at private hospitals.
If you have a work-related illness or were hurt while working at a New Jersey hospital, you are eligible for certain benefits. These include but are not limited to payments to cover the cost of your treatment, temporary disability payments if you cannot work for more than a week, and ultimately permanent disability benefits for any permanent injury sustained.
With a wealth of knowledge and experience to call on, the New Jersey injury attorneys at Lomurro Law provide comprehensive representation in hospital workplace accident cases. Contact us online or call 732-482-9285 to speak with a dedicated lawyer today.