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Exploring safety risks to New Jersey health care workers

According to the Health Care Workers' Compensation Barometer released by Aon Global Risk Consulting, the frequency of workers' compensation claims in the health care industry has dropped one percent annually. The report analyzed data from 1,600 care facilities from around the country. It is believed that an aging workforce combined with workplace violence and patient handling issues may be emerging risks to watch in 2017.

As workers in the health care field age, the cost of workers' compensation claims increases. Data from the Aon report found that 53 percent of working nurses were over the age of 50. The report suggests that a program allowing older workers to transition into a different work setting may help control injuries and their costs. Injuries to the back or shoulders were among the most common reported by health care workers.

Safe patient handling may both reduce the cost of a workers' compensation claim as well as reduce the number of claims. Hospitals included in the report that had Safe Patient Handling and Mobility standards paid out $6,000 per claim compared to $7,800 for all others. Among respondents to the survey, 91 percent said that there was an incidence of workplace violence in the last three years. However, half said that they were prepared for such occurrences while 81 percent had a formal workplace violence prevention program.

Employees who are hurt while attending to patients or performing other job duties may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. An injured worker may receive reimbursement for some or all lost wages as well as future earnings while he or she is out of work. Benefits may also cover medical expenses or other related costs. Those who have questions or concerns about their case may want to consult with an attorney.

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