Nursing Home Employees Back Breaking Work

Reducing the rate of nursing home employee accidents does not seem, at first sight, to deserve a lot of attention in the labor safety world. In North Carolina, most experts focus on the high occupational injury rates in the construction, transportation or manufacturing industries.

Why would work in a North Carolina nursing home be dangerous?

The truth is that the injury rate for nursing home workers has historically been double the injury rate for all full time workers in other occupations. With hundreds of nursing homes in North Carolina, the sector employs tens of thousands of people and is growing fast.

Many nursing home tasks require strenuous physical labor such as lifting and pushing. Nurse aides are constantly assisting residents in day-to-day tasks such as moving the disabled or impaired to and from beds, chairs, toilets and baths. Despite being taught lifting techniques and “best practices,” nurse aides experience a high rate of injuries, especially back injuries.

Other frequent accidents include cuts and abrasions, slip, trip and falls and the many injuries sustained while cleaning, doing the laundry, moving furniture or heavy wheelchairs or preventing residents from falling or hurting themselves.

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What is nursing home management to do to prevent work accidents?

Just like construction companies, motor carriers or production plants, North Carolina nursing home management and owners need to give their employees the tools to do their work without getting hurt. It is not just the decent thing to do; it does make a lot of economic sense.

As numerous studies have shown, sit-to-stand, ambulatory and other mechanical lifts and electric adjustable beds have many advantages that far outweigh the investment cost:

  • Reduction in employee injuries resulting in lower workers comp insurance cost;
  • Reduction in injuries to residents from dropping;
  • Time gained by lifting residents faster and with one employee instead of two;Better personnel motivation resulting in lower turnover;
  • Improved nursing home image.

In many cases the cause of back pain is difficult to diagnose. Also, there is not always a correlation between the intensity of pain and the severity of the injury. Strains, sprains and herniated disks will produce different symptoms and require different treatments for every individual, making back injuries a delicate matter under North Carolina’s workers compensation rules. A back injury can be dismissed as not related to work or pre-existing to the accident, or the injured worker can be denied adequate treatment, or be required to return to work before having fully recovered. If so, it makes sense to consult with an experienced North Carolina workers comp attorney to find out how your rights can be protected.

If you have been hurt at work, contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or contact us online for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.