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Workplace injury incidents to nurses continue despite 2004 law

California nurses are exposed to many safety hazards as they go about their daily tasks in hospital environments. In addition to being exposed to infectious diseases, nurses often suffer on-the-job injuries that are caused by falls and patient handling. In 2004, a law came into effect that intended to reduce the workplace injury incidents in nurses, and recent studies revealed that there has been a significant drop in reported injuries.

This law was in response to the need to protect nurses by improving workplace environments and providing equipment to facilitate the lifting of patients. Hospital managers are also expected to provide sufficient training in the proper handling of lifting equipment. Employment of additional staff members to assist in repositioning of patients has proved to lessen the numbers of shoulder and back injuries in nurses.

Creating an awareness of the dangers posed by needles and reducing the time pressure on nurses to perform their duties have also served to prevent many incidents of nurses being injured or contaminated by needles. Researchers who compared statistics from before and after the implementation of the 2004 law found a drop of approximately 38 percent in workplace injuries and illnesses among nurses. Nevertheless nurses injuries on-the-job continue to occur.

Any California nurse who has, for example, suffered a workplace injury to his or her back may suffer the consequences for years to come. In some cases, such injuries could prevent a person from continuing the nursing profession. Such circumstances will likely have severe financial repercussions, and compensation may be pursued by filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The effects of some injury types develop over time and proving it to be work-related may be tricky. Fortunately, experienced workers' compensation attorneys focus on protecting the rights of injured workers and will provide guidance throughout the claiming procedures.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "California law on nurse-to-patient ratios makes nurses safer, study shows", May 13, 2015

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