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Work injury hazards widespread in nursing industry

Hospitals across Illinois took note of the increased presence of workplace violence after a recent shooting incident in a hospital in another state. One doctor lost his life in that incident, and five other individuals were injured. The threat of suffering a work injury is part of the everyday life of every nurse, and authorities are working on establishing protocols to prevent violent incidents in health care facilities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the risks of violence in the workplace is four times higher for health care workers and others working in social assistance positions than the average for all employees in the private sector. Nurses have to face multiple stressful situations in environments filled with high pressure every day, and added to that is the threat of potential violence by patients or their families. However, advocacy groups and workers in this industry believe the incidence of violence is more prevalent now than what it was before.

Although OSHA has no specific safety regulations to manage threats of violence in hospitals, Illinois has laws against it. Illinois is one of eight states in which it is a felony to assault or commit any act of violence against a working nurse. The recent incident at the hospital in the Bronx may bring about stricter protections for those employed in healthcare.

The Illinois workers' compensation insurance program will cover any nurse who is suffering the consequences of a work injury caused by violence. He or she can file benefits claims for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages. Although a victim can pursue financial assistance without legal counsel, having an experienced workers' comp attorney to provide support and guidance can be very helpful.

Source: daily-journal.com, "In wake of Bronx attack, spotlight on risk to health care workers", Allison Shapiro, July 12, 2017

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