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Trends in health care workers' injury claims

Health care workers in North Carolina hospitals and other facilities face many workplace hazards that can cause serious accidents. Preventing them is not only a priority for health care facilities, but also for insurance providers that compensate injured workers. In its biennial Health Care Workers' Compensation Barometer report, Aon Global Risk Consulting looked at trends in health care workers' compensation claims that could affect the insurance industry in 2017.

One of the trends that Aon wrote about in its report is the aging health care workforce. Workers' compensation claims tend to increase in cost as workers age, and a majority of older workers' claims involve back and shoulder injuries. Nursing has the highest injury rate of any health care occupation, and 53 percent of nurses are over the age of 50.

The Aon report also discussed the importance of implementing safe patient handling policies in health care facilities. The company noted that safe patient handling policies could significantly reduce the number of workers' compensation claims that are filed. Evidence suggests that injuries to health care workers can be reduced by as much as 95 percent after safe patient handling standards are implemented. Though the Aon report acknowledged that workplace violence is a significant problem in the health care industry, it found that most health care facilities are prepared to handle the problem.

Injured nurses who cannot afford to take time off from work could end up suffering further physical harm by returning to the job too soon. An attorney might suggest that an appropriate course of action would be to file for workers' compensation benefits that could include partial wage replacement during the recovery period.

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