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A look at nursing-related injury rates and how to prevent them

Los Angeles workers may be interested in some information about workplace injuries in the health care field and how they could be prevented. Due to the failure of the state and federal governments to enact legislation, however, these serious workplace issues remain largely unresolved, according to one source.

The rate of on-the-job injury for nurses and orderlies is higher than any other occupation, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these injuries are the result of moving patients without the proper equipment. According to a spokesperson from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, this often leaves nurses with shortened careers due to disabilities caused by these injuries. However, studies show that changes in equipment and training can lead to a vast reduction in these types of workers' injuries. One program showed a 40 percent average reduction while another found that injuries were reduced by 80 percent after introducing new equipment for lifting and moving patients.

While regulations to control these ergonomic injuries were passed by OSHA in October 2000, they were quickly removed by Congress after the industry balked at the requirements. On the state level, nursing groups and other interested parties are facing the same uphill battle to introduce new rules. Even when bills have passed by state legislatures, governors have vetoed them.

Despite this difficulty in passing legislation to protect health care workers, there may still be ways to get help in cases of workplace injuries. An attorney may be able to explore options with the injured worker, including workers' compensation and social security disability claims. The attorney may also be helpful in taking action if a claim is denied.

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