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Maryland Workers’ Compensation: On-the-job dangers to nurses

| Nov 9, 2017 | Workplace Injuries

At Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A., we advocate for workers from a wide spectrum of industries in their Workers’ Compensation claims. We frequently represent construction workers, who toil in an industry known for its particularly dangerous conditions that can cause debilitating injuries and even death on the job. 

High rates of injury, including those caused by violence toward nurses 

Perhaps surprising to many, the Washington Post recently reported that nurses actually suffer “more injuries than construction workers.” The Post pointed out that in some states, nursing is more dangerous than working as a prison guard or cop because of the “stunning amount of violence,” physical and verbal. 

The article cited and linked to an extensive 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office or GAO that concluded the “rates of workplace violence in health care and social assistance settings are five to 12 times higher than the estimated rates for workers overall.” 

It is noteworthy that 93 percent of nurses are still women. 

Other inherent workplace risks to nurses 

In addition to injury from assault by patients, family members and others, nurses face physical injury from the basic nature of their work in which they regularly engage in lifting and repositioning bodies. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA reports that in addition to the workplace risks of harm from violence and patient handling and lifting (during a time of increased patient obesity), nurses face the risk of injury from needle sticks, exposure to infectious disease and dangerous substances, falls on slippery floors and from tripping, overexertion and other hazards. 

Nurse injury types may include infection, musculoskeletal damage like strains and sprains, fractures, cuts and puncture wounds. Not surprisingly, nurses also experience high levels of work-related pain, bruising, fatigue, stress and burnout. 

Workers’ Compensation for nurses 

As with all Workers’ Compensation claims, fault is not part of the equation. If injury arises in the course of employment, the employee normally has a valid claim for benefits regardless of how it happened. 

OSHA reports that hospitals incur collectively nationwide about $2 billion in Workers’ Compensation expenses annually, even with nurses and nursing assistants underreporting their work-related injuries. 

If you are a Maryland nurse and experience an injury or illness in the course of your work, be sure to report it to your employer immediately and to talk to an attorney about your right to Workers’ Compensation benefits for your losses. A lawyer will provide information, guidance and advocacy in all aspects of the application and appeal, if necessary. 

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