Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers put their own health at risk every day to care for the sick and injured, especially in hospital settings. There are many injury risks in any hospital, but one in particular stands out: hospital violence.
As a recent Chicago Tribune article reported, hospital employees are at an extremely elevated risk of being intentionally injured on the job at the hands of another person. As of 2015, there were 8.5 such injuries per 10,000 full-time hospital workers. That’s five times the national average across all private industries.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified several key risk factors for workplace violence, including several that are applicable to hospital settings:
- Contact with the public
- Working with unstable or volatile persons
- Working late at night or in early morning hours
Here in San Diego, workplace violence in hospitals is a major area of concerns. Three of the city’s top 10 employers – Sharp HealthCare, Kaiser Permanente and Scripps Health – are healthcare providers, according to the City’s 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
California is leading the charge to prevent workplace violence
The good news for hospital workers in California is that new state legislation is providing additional protection. On April 1 of this year, the strongest healthcare workplace violence rule in the nation went into effect in California. Private health facilities in California are now required to perform site-specific violence assessments and create action plans that include workers’ concerns and views.
Nevertheless, workplace violence remains a significant problem in hospitals in San Diego and throughout California. The issue is underreported, and cuts to mental health services have left many unstable patients in general healthcare facilities that are not as well equipped to handle them. Moreover, in an aging patient population, there are more elderly patients who may have violent dementia.
The important thing to remember is that if you are hurt on the job, whether due to violence or any other cause, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Too often, healthcare workers feel as though they need to keep coming to work and fight through the pain even when they sustain significant injuries. The truth is that your health matters, too, and there is a system in place to help you get the compensation you need.
If you’ve been injured while working in a hospital, you have rights. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help to protect them. It’s often difficult to figure out exactly what happened in the chaos of a hospital emergency room, which is why it’s so important to have a skilled advocate on your side. Don’t wait, schedule a free consultation today.