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Workers' compensation and the health care industry

Nurses in Illinois may be interested to learn that according to a report prepared by Aon Global Risk Consulting, the frequency of workers' compensation claims in the health care industry is expected to decrease. However, the seriousness of claims has been increasing. The report identified three significant areas as emerging risks.

One of those risks is an aging workforce. Nurses are frequently at high risk for injury, and the study found that nurses over 50 were even more likely to be injured. The most common injuries were to the shoulder and back. The report recommended mentoring younger nurses to help reduce the likelihood of these types of injuries and found that almost two-thirds of work places do not have a plan that helps older workers transition to a different setting.

Safe patient handling is another issue. Injuries and workers' compensation claims are reduced when a facility has a focus on best practices and patient handling initiatives. Facilities that follow Safe Patient Handling and Mobility standards tend to have claims of around $6,000 compared to $7,800 for those that do not. Using this standard can reduce injuries to health care workers by 95 percent.

Many workers do not have a full understanding of their rights regarding workplace injuries. They may not know whether they are eligible for workers' compensation and that their employer cannot retaliate against them for filing. Retaliation may include actions ranging from intimidation to termination. Some employees might feel particularly vulnerable in these circumstances. However, a worker might want to consult an attorney to find out what their rights are. In addition to explaining those rights, an attorney could help with paperwork and any appeals.

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