Protecting Yourself Against Workplace Injuries

By Gwenyth Luu, Director – Commercial Lines

Nursing and other patient care occupations are among the most difficult career paths. Not only are nurses called upon to provide a high standard of patient care insofar as treatments and medications are concerned, but they often face demanding physical requirements too. Nurses, nursing assistants and orderlies are commonly called upon to lift, support and maneuver patients regularly – even more so as the population ages and many patients live well into their eighties and nineties. And with over two-thirds of the adult population in the U.S. classified as overweight, these physical requirements are more extreme than ever before.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the nursing shortage will reach 1.2 million positions between 2014 and 2022 – despite the growing popularity of nursing as a profession. And according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 500,000 nurses are expected to retire or leave the workforce in the next five years. This confluence of factors will make nursing caseloads and physical demands even greater, further increasing the risk of work-related injuries. When injuries do occur, they are often severe and long-lasting, frequently requiring risky back surgeries and long periods of recuperation. Unless these professional have access to mechanical devices to assist them, it may not be feasible for them to return to work performing the same functions.

Back in 2003, the nursing profession began to take action against this work hazard by instituting a “Handle With Care” campaign aimed at reducing injuries for nurses required to lift and maneuver their patients. Since then, 11 states have addressed the issue head-on, with legislation aimed at establishing safe patient handling protocols, often involving mechanical hoists and other assistive devices. The legislation typically requires written policies for handling these patients and training for personnel assigned to these tasks. Individual states also have instituted requirements for reporting injuries or for monitoring and oversight of this function. Many other states, citing the tremendous cost for adopting these mechanical lift methods, have strongly resisted developing legislation.

Because of these risks, it is critical for employers of nurses, aides and orderlies to have adequate worker’s compensation insurance. JGS have dedicated partnership with and expert leader in healthcare. The carrier has a team of consultants and trainers who come with extensive experience as direct-care nurses. With more than 20 years of specialized work with the healthcare industry, these specialists focus on the areas where injuries are most likely to happen and offer a customized plan for your organization based upon “best practices.” As a client of JGS and partnership with JGS’ dedicated carrier, organizations will gain access the following services:

  • Safe Patient Handling and Movement (SPH&M) – accredited full-day workshop
  • Department-specific safety assessments focus on past injury reviews, operational controls, and employee/job observations to identify improvement opportunities.
  • Ongoing assessment of industry trends and advances by the carrier’s team helps keep your organization with the latest regulations and newest products.
  • Industry-specific tools, resources, including patient-assessment tools, caregiver perception surveys, checklists as well as access to a web-based resource keep organizations from having to re-invent the wheel.

 

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