Over the course of the pandemic, America has learned to appreciate essential workers that were perhaps previously taken for granted, such as those working in grocery stores, utilities, pharmacies, farms, community organizations, government offices and more. One essential profession that was widely appreciated before the pandemic has seen respect and admiration grow during this troubling time: healthcare workers.
Healthcare is a fast-growing part of both the Milwaukee and Wisconsin economies. While their work is crucial, it can also be extremely hazardous and result in on-the-job injuries.
Common healthcare worker injuries
Healthcare workers face a wide spectrum of hazards every day, including:
- Sprains and strains: the federal government’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) says these are the most common injuries reported by healthcare workers, often involving workers’ lower back, neck or shoulders.
- Herniated discs: these painful injuries to the spine are often sustained by nurses while moving, lifting or lowering patients, but other healthcare workers are susceptible, too, including nursing aides, attendants, orderlies, laundry workers and others.
- Punctures and cuts: getting stuck by a syringe or cut by a scalpel is not only painful, but also carries with it the danger of the transmission of infectious diseases and bloodborne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, as well as diphtheria, herpes, gonorrhea, tuberculosis and others.
- Workplace violence: far too common in hospitals and clinic settings, workplace violence can result in serious and even fatal injuries to healthcare workers.
Most workers injured in Milwaukee are eligible for Wisconsin workers’ compensation benefits that include medical care and wage replacement.