Archive for August, 2017

Hospitals are most dangerous workplace for Rhode Island workers

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyWhile Rhode Island was ranked one of the safest states to work in, a new study by Zippia finds that hospitals are the most dangerous worksites for the state’s employees.

While most injured in the course of employment are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it is not uncommon for employers and insurers to challenge this right.

How the “Most Dangerous” Designation Was Calculated

The Zippia study identified and weighed several factors to rank the “most dangerous” states and industries. It began with injury reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Those figures were then divided by each state’s total reports comparative to the number of workers employed in that state.

Then, workplace death rates reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were weighed as a separate factor in the analysis of dangerousness. Lastly, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was broken down to determine the number of injuries in each state per mile driven. Given that most auto accidents are not work-related, this piece was not considered as heavily as other information.

Real Life Accidents in the Healthcare Industry

The injuries statistics are more than just numbers. Real employees’ lives can be devastated by the effects of workplace injuries. Consider the example of a Philadelphia nurse who damaged a disc in her back while assisting in moving a patient. National Public Radio reports that she required surgery to install a metal cage and four long, sharp screws in her back. As a result, she saw the end of her nursing career.

Back and musculoskeletal injuries among registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants also occurred at a rate approximately three times higher than that of construction laborers.

In addition to physical job hazards, violence in the workplace is another very real danger faced by those employed in healthcare.

CNN reports on a series of troubling violent incidents in hospitals, including: a Baltimore doctor who was shot and critically injured by a gunman, a man in Valley Stream, New York who broke a chair and used the legs to beat a nurse, a gunman who opened fire in a Laurinburg, North Carolina hospital after a bar fight, and a man who killed two hospital employees in a Columbus, Georgia hospital after being dissatisfied with his mother’s care. CNN interviewed one emergency nurse who reported that she had been scratched, bitten, spat upon and struck hard enough to break her jaw. The alleged attacker later apologized, saying merely that he had grown tired of waiting for care.

And here in Providence, the emergency department of Rhode Island Hospital went on lockdown after experiencing violence in the wake of a bar fight. WPRO reports that nightclub shooting victims were being treated at the hospital when family and friends arrived in the waiting area. This group caused a “disturbance” deemed serious enough to cause the hospital staff to perform a lockdown and call Providence police to assist. Twenty persons were removed from the property by the security staff and Providence Police Department.

Employees have rights to protection under Rhode Island law. Title 28 of the State of Rhode Island General Law makes specific provisions for safety in the workplace. Employers which do not follow these laws are subject to regulatory penalties such as suspension of a business license, fines, civil lawsuits, and even criminal charges.

After any workplace injury, contact a New England workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. You have legal rights which must be protected.