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How Common Are Lifting Injuries for Caregivers?

August 17, 2022 | Personal Injury,Workers' Compensation,Workplace Safety

 Certified nursing assistants, personal care workers, and others who provide direct care to group home and nursing home residents provide a crucial service to the community. Unfortunately, they put themselves in harm’s way when they do so. Beyond the risk of volatile or aggressive residents, the greatest risk in this line of employment is the physical labor involved. Lifting is an intricate task that relies heavily on proper execution, but when employees do dozens of lifts per day, it’s easy for injuries to happen.

At Pisegna and Zimmerman, we fight aggressively for the workers of Los Angeles. Whether you’ve been injured by a patient or client, an unsafe work environment, the carelessness of a coworker, or a third party, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out more now by calling us at 818-888-8888.

Lifting Injuries Are Common—But Why?

 Nursing home and assisted living lifting injuries are incredibly common for staff and caregivers. According to a publication put out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, caregivers suffer 211,000 work injuries each year. This number is only expected to grow as the country’s elderly population continues to expand, significantly ramping up the demand for CNAs and other types of caregivers. This type of work exposes employees to an increased risk of back, shoulder, and upper arm musculoskeletal injuries.

Considering the type of lifting done by caregivers, it should come as no surprise that injuries occur. When caregivers lift patients, patients are rarely able to provide any assistance. This requires the caregiver to use a substantial amount of energy to maneuver the patient into the correct position, lift them, and secure them in their new location.

No-Lift Policies in Some Facilities

 Due to the heightened risk of lift injuries in care facilities across the country, some centers now have no-lift policies. These policies don’t actually forbid manual lifts—they simply require staff members to use any other lifting option when it is available. If a patient can be lifted both manually and by hoyer, staff members must opt for the hoyer lift unless it is out of service. By limiting physical lifts, nursing homes can improve care for residents and keep employees safer. The problem is, that many of this equipment is not available in home settings for caregivers working one on one with patients.

Safety Protocols in Care Facilities

 Knowing how common lifting injuries are, many administrators have opted to focus on safer lifting practices in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In a study coming out of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, researchers looked at the results of efforts to implement Safe Resident Handling Programs. These programs focused on mechanical lifting equipment, enhanced training, and a focus on maintenance and usage protocols.

The results were impressive. Over the first measured period, workers’ compensation claims decreased by 11%, and claims fell 14% during the second measured period. In 72% of centers that used the Safe Resident Handling Program, injury claims had decreased.

This makes it clear that it’s not simply a matter of each employee protecting themselves from injuries to their best ability. Real protection of employees requires assistance and guidance on an institutional level. But again, as mentioned before, for caregivers working in smaller or one on one settings, the risk is still very real and present.

Your Options After an Injury

 If you work as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or another caregiver role, you’ve likely felt the sting of a lower back work injury after a long shift. Unfortunately, some employees ignore these twinges and pains, assuming that they are simply part of the job.

Injuries don’t have to be part of your work experience. Ignoring initial signs of pain can cause injuries to worsen, which often leads to a longer healing time and a greater need for treatment. Report your work injury to your supervisor immediately and seek medical attention. If you’re lucky, you just need time off of lifting and some rest for your back. In other cases, surgical treatment or physical therapy may be required.

The good news is that you are entitled to workers’ compensation after a workplace injury. The Division of Workers’ Compensation, part of the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, oversees this program across the state.

If you run into issues with your claim, such as a denial, a refusal to cover medical expenses, or retaliation, it’s time to hire an attorney. Your right to compensation is legally protected, and when an employer violates that right, you must take it seriously.

Let’s Talk More About Your Legal Options

 When a workplace injury leaves you without income and struggling with pain, it’s time to talk to Pisegna and Zimmerman. We’re ready to hold your employer accountable and demand the benefits you are owed. Set up your first consultation now by calling us at 818-888-8888 or filling out our contact form.