Lifting injuries common among nurses, but often dismissed by hospitals

Lifting-related injuries are the most common risks that nurses face. However, many hospitals fail to have equipment that can protect them.

Nurses in Pennsylvania are on the front line when it comes to providing care to people struggling with severe health issues. However, one thing many people may not realize is that nurses themselves are actually at a very high risk for injuries occurring on the job. Hospitals often fail to acknowledge the challenges that nurses face, thereby adding to the problem.

High prevalence

According to Nursing World, when nurses suffer back injury due to lifting, they can incur permanent disability, medical bills and lost work time. Sadly, back injuries are the most common risk for nurses, affecting 38 percent. These types of injuries are often related to the repeated moving and lifting of patients, and can lead to lifelong pain and suffering for the nurses as well as the end of their career.

Hospital denials common

In a recent broadcast on NPR, one hospital was noted as having a reputation for denying workers' compensation claims related to lifting injuries. The hospital claimed that one nurse's debilitating back injuries were related to a non-work event and dismissed her claim for benefits. The nurse injured her back initially when she was trying to help move a heavy patient. Other employees of the hospital reported similar stories, and one said that on the injury form, it was the hospital administrators who decided whether the employee's injury was work-related, not the physician who examined the employee.

While the hospital has reportedly spent millions in expansion efforts, it seems to have little concern for its employees, according to previous workers and even a former workers' compensation court judge. The state's workers' compensation court actually recommended that a fraud investigation should be conducted on the hospital due to information provided that was false and not credible. In one case, the court was not given evidence from the hospital and ruled that the hospital "acted in bad faith."

Injury prevention is not a priority for many hospitals

Another broadcast by NPR stated hospitals often overlook the prevalence of injuries that occur to nurses, but the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is trying to address the problem with a new initiative. It was determined that a potential approach of fining hospitals that do not adopt safety practices would be more effective than simply making recommendations. These safety practices include installing and using mechanical lifts that eliminate the need of nursing staff to physically move patients, treating injuries that nursing staff suffer in a prompt period of time and providing proper training to staff on how to use that equipment.

Even the most careful of workers can sometimes run into an unfortunate and painful situation. Those who are injured on the job have a right to seek financial compensation. A reliable workers' compensation lawyer in Pennsylvania can provide legal consultation on such matters.