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New legislation aims to improve health care workplace safety

In December 2015, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken proposed legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Labor to issue regulations demanding that all health care providers in the United States create programs aimed at decreasing the rate of workplace injuries among health care workers. The proposed programs would involve safe patient handling policies.

Many people are unaware that nursing is one of the most physically strenuous and risky professions in America. Workplace injury reports routinely places nurses and health care workers at the high end of the spectrum, with rates of nonfatal incidents that require time off from work in order to heal that are comparable with jobs known for their dangerous nature like firefighters, police officers and construction workers. Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common complaint.

Experts point to the amount of heavy lifting and carrying that health care workers must do, especially when dealing with heavy patients. This is known to exact a toll upon the spine and the muscles of workers' backs. The bill would hope to change conditions and alleviate some of the burden that health care workers must carry. Authorities noted that, unlike the jobs known to be dangerous, health care workplaces are largely unregulated from a safety viewpoint.

Health care workers who are injured on the job are often eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. As the process is time-sensitive, an attorney who has experience with these types of matters can often be of assistance in obtaining all necessary supporting medical documentation and in ensuring that the required claim is filed in a timely manner.

Source Web Link: International Business Times, "Nursing's Workplace Safety Crisis: Bill Aims To Fix Astounding Level Of Job-Related Injuries", Cole Stangler, Dec. 23, 2015

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