Healthcare Workers Face Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls in Hospitals and Clinics

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently published a guide for healthcare workers and hospital administrators to prevent workplace trip-and-falls for healthcare workers. NIOSH reviewed statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that show that doctors, nurses, orderlies and other medical professionals loss work days to slip-and-falls on the job at a rate that is 90 percent higher than workers in other private industries.

The NIOSH guide highlights the top 10 fall hazards that hospital workers are most likely to be injured by including slips caused by liquid, powders or other residue on the floor, falls near backed up drains and pipes, and trips on uneven surfaces inside and outside the hospital. Falls caused by snow and ice outside the hospital and tracked inside also rank high on the list. Other easily remedied dangerous conditions that frequently contribute to healthcare worker falls include inadequate lighting, clutter such as medical tubing, wires, and hoses, as well as floor mats and runners used to cover obstacles and clutter in hospital hallways, emergency rooms and exam rooms. Falls down stairs and trips up stairs as well as falls caused by handrails are also common workplace injuries for hospital workers.

Many of these contributors to medical workers' slip-and-falls are preventable through routine cleaning, inspection and commonsense. Like any other employers, healthcare employers owe their employees a safe workplace, free of known and dangerous conditions.

While falls at a hospital are unlikely to cause death, healthcare employees could suffer a bone break, sprain, or muscle pulls that causes extreme pain, lost time from work, and may be a permanent and debilitating injury that the employee will have to live with for the rest of his or her life. While worker's compensation and other benefits may cover most of the employee's expenses, safety and prevention of falls can save the hospital worker and his or her employer time and money.

Hospital and clinic administrators should also consider that if healthcare workers are falling on the job, others such as patients and guests may also slip, trip or fall on the same obstacles. If you were injured after falling or slipping in a hospital, clinic or other workplace setting, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your legal options.